Facts on election ink
by Major (R) Abd Rahman Teoh from Facebook
Election ink, electoral stain or phosphoric ink is a semi-permanent ink or dye that is applied to the forefinger (usually) of voters during elections in order to prevent electoral fraud such as double voting. It is an effective method for countries where identification documents for citizens are not always standardized or institutionalized
Electoral stain is used as a good security feature to prevent double voting in elections. Ink is normally applied to the left hand index finger, especially to the cuticle where it is almost impossible to remove quickly. Ink may be applied in a variety of ways, depending on circumstance and preference. The most common methods are via dipping bottles with sponge inserts, bottles with a brush applicators, spray bottles, and marker pens. With all methods the finger should be left to dry for 15–30 seconds and exposed to light before being cleaned to ensure the mark remains visible for the desired length of time.
Electoral stain is traditionally violet in colour, before the photosensitive element takes effect to leave a black or brown mark. However for the Surinamese legislative election, 2005, orange replaced violet as the colour for marking the voters’ fingers as it was found to last just as long and be more appealing to voters, as it resembled the national colours.
In some parts of the world, women stain their fingers violet for cosmetic reasons, meaning a different colour would be needed in such places to distinguish the marks and to ensure nobody was unfairly prevented from voting.