Video of disappearing ink is not from the Polish parliamentary election

By: Emmi Kivi
October 18 2023

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Video of disappearing ink is not from the Polish parliamentary election


The Verdict False

The footage is from the 2019 Kazakhstan presidential election, not from Poland.

Claim ID 15d1a08c

What's the claim?

With the highest turnout in the country's history, the opposition, the Civic Coalition, secured a majority of seats in Poland's parliamentary election on October 15. 

Social media users shared a video of disappearing ink supposedly used at a polling station during the Polish parliamentary election. The post caption urges caution: "Parliamentary elections in Poland – Can happen anywhere. Always take your own pen." The video shows a person writing on a piece of paper, erasing the text with fire from a lighter in the voting booth, and showing it in front of the election committee. 

However, the video predates the Polish parliamentary election. The footage dates back to 2019, to the snap presidential election in Kazakhstan. 

What we found

 On June 9, 2019, the early presidential election was held in Kazakhstan after long-term President Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned.

A reverse image search of a screenshot of the original footage produced multiple results on Yandex. The search led to a BBC Russia article dated June 10, 2019. The BBC report includes a video that matches the original footage. The news piece reports on the alleged violations during the presidential election in Kazakstan, including the ink that disappears with fire.

With the added information, further investigations led to a YouTube video of the original footage, posted on June 9, 2019. 

The screenshot on the left is from a post falsely attributed to the Polish elections. On the right is a screenshot of the June 9, 2019 YouTube video. Source: TikTok/YouTube/Modified by Logically Facts

The YouTube video caption describes polling booths in the Almaty region, indicating that the footage was filmed at a polling station in the Almaty region. 

The screenshot on the left is falsely attributed to the Polish elections; the right shows the 2019 YouTube video of the same footage. Source: TikTok/YouTube/Logically Facts

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Republic of Kazakhstan confirmed the video's authenticity; it was filmed in the village of Kaynazar in the Almaty region on the day of the presidential election. According to the CEC, there were no written reports from observers about violations at the site where the incident occurred.

The footage also shows a turquoise flag in the corner and an emblem on the ballot box resembling the national symbols of Kazakhstan. The Polish polling booths bore the colors of white and red as the Polish flag and the eagle of the Polish emblem.

Logically Facts previously analyzed Poland's misinformation and disinformation landscape amid the parliamentary elections. 

The verdict

The video of the disappearing ink at the polling station predates the Polish parliamentary election. The footage dates back to 2019, to the early presidential election in Kazakstan. Therefore, we marked the claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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