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Election Day 2021: How long do you need to keep the ink on your thumb?


Oct 31, 2021

This year, the traditional indelible ink marker pens are replaced with a liquid that will be applied through disposal buds in a bid t-to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on voting day.

According to the IEC, your left thumb MUST be marked with indelible ink after voting. This is a confirmation that you have voted.

ALSO READ: LOOK: Your ballot will be spoilt – if you fill it in like this [photos]

Take a thumb selfie once you’re out of your voting station and share it with family and friends on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok with the hashtags #IvotedSA #ProudlySA #InkthumbSA to show you’ve made your mark, and encourage them to do so too! pic.twitter.com/HCq7CyAmSs

— IEC South Africa (@IECSouthAfrica) October 30, 2021

But how did the marking of the thumbs all begin, and why has it been put in place?


It’s mainly used as a security feature to ensure that no one attempts to vote multiple times. The ink lasts on the skin for a minimum of 72 hours, comfortably lasting the entire length of an Election Day.


The Electoral Commission reminds voters that it is a criminal offence to vote twice or to vote when not registered, which, if convicted, can earn a person up to 10 years in jail. So, if you attempt to remove the ink from your thumb after voting – in an effort to go and cast more than one ballot – you could be thrown in jail for it.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa vs. Malema vs. Steenhuisen: What did they do BEFORE politics?

“The indelible ink is one of a number of security checks and safeguards built into the election process, but the Commission wishes to remind all voters that an attempt to remove the ink mark constitutes electoral fraud and is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.”

Your left thumb MUST be marked with indelible ink after voting. This is a confirmation that you have voted. #LGE2021 pic.twitter.com/tNKInMFxXs

— IEC South Africa (@IECSouthAfrica) October 31, 2021

ALSO READ: Local Elections 2021: How to report electoral fraud

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