Comelec to ‘strengthen’ indelible ink
Recognizing the weakness of the indelible ink used in previous polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Tuesday that it is thinking of increasing the nitrate content to make it harder for people to remove the mark right after voting.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez explained that the indelible ink — which indicates if a person has already voted — has two parts: the indigo dye and the silver nitrate.
He said the dye stays the same and it is the silver nitrate that burns into the finger of the voter, staying for about two to three days. But he said some people have figured out that if you wet the finger with the old indelible ink with acetone right away, the dye washes off, though the stain remains.
“The stain which is the burn, that’s what’s harder (to remove), that’s what we’re gonna increase,” Jimenez said.
Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that in previous elections, the nitrate concentrate on the indelible ink is just about five percent. Now they have increased it to seven percent. He said that they plan to increase it more if possible.
“We’re thinking of increasing it (more), we will be increasing it… we just want to make it more stronger, more concentrated,” said Larrazabal, who heads the steering committee on poll automation.
In a separate interview, Commissioner Rene Sarmiento suggested that the nitrate concentration be increased to at least 20 percent.
“Sa India 25 percent yung nitrate, dito 7 percent lang … dapat siguro dagdagan (In India, they used 25 percent, here we use seven percent … maybe we should increase it),” he said.
Jimenez said that they are already testing by how much they can increase the nitrate concentrate, taking into consideration the voter.
“We’re balancing that with the physical integrity of the tao, ayaw naman nating maging painful yung burn (person, we don’t want the burn to be painful). If more than seven percent becomes intolerable, then we will adjust accordingly,” he said.
But he said that as of the moment, 7 percent is “tolerable.” Larrazabal added that indelible ink with seven percent nitrate concentrate cannot be washed off with acetone.
Larrazabal said the orders for the indelible ink have yet to be awarded to any bidder. He said that poll machine supplier Smartmatic-TIM did not bid for the indelible ink because it was “not their line.” — Kimberly Tan/RSJ/KBK, GMANews.TV