Stamp Out: Was disappearing ink a glitch or a tool in Vote 2012?

The disappearing stamps in passports were one of the key concerns and possible violations in Sunday’s parliamentary elections and have been qualified by many as a well-planned stunt skillfully implemented by the authorities.

As opposed to 2008 when passports were stamped with regular permanent ink, this time it was decided to use special ink that would disappear after 12 hours.

The point of stamping is to prevent double-voting, and the opposition believes this method of prevention did not serve its purpose.

Early on May 6, single-mandate candidate Satik Seyranyan, editor of “168 hours” local newspaper, running in election district No. 4, wrote on her Facebook profile: “Good morning, people. The stamp in passports disappears after a short while.”

Heritage party election headquarters’ press release reported that since early morning that day they had received numerous calls about the stamps disappearing from passports much earlier than they were supposed to, sometimes within a few minutes.

The party headquarters turned to the Central Election Commission (CEC) and demanded to replace the special temporary ink pads with regular ones.

A similar complaint to CEC was made by the Armenian National Congress bloc, demanding to stop the election and annul the votes made by that hour.

Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) MP Naira Zohrabyan also informed the OSCE/ODHIR and European Parliament observers about the issue.

“What we had feared, has happened. We view this as a planned scenario for double-voting. This is not how democracy can be built, and those behind this election fraud will not be forgiven,” says Zohrabyan.

CEC chairman Tigran Mukuchyan said Sunday that they had been informed about the ink problem and explained it by the fact that the inkpot should be shaken before use. The issue, nonetheless, did not get resolved.

At the joint headquarters established to control the elections PAP representative Vartan Oskanian showed his passport to everyone present and said: “I voted at noon today. I am willing to share it with you, please, open and take a look, see if you can find the stamp.”

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