Abstract The feasibility of using capillary columns equipped with silica frits and packed with a polymer-based anion exchanger (Dionex AS9-HC) for CEC separations of inorganic anions has been investigated. Experiments using a conventional 25 cm packed bed, and mobile phase flow that is a combination of hydrodynamic and electroosmotic flow were used to demonstrate that by varying the applied voltage (electrophoresis component) or the concentration of the competing ion in the mobile phase (ion-exchange component), considerable changes in the separation selectivity could be obtained. Using an artificial neural network, this separation system was modelled and the results obtained used to determine the optimum conditions (9 m M perchlorate and −10 kV) for the separation of eight inorganic anions. When a short (8 cm) packed bed was used, with detection immediately following the packed section, the separation of eight test analytes in under 2.2 min was possible using pressure-driven flow and a simple step voltage gradient. A more rapid separation of these analytes was obtained by only applying high voltage (−30 kV), where many of the same analytes were separated in less than 20 s and with a different separation selectivity to that obtained in conventional ion-exchange or capillary electrophoresis separations.