Indonesia to evaluate elections as dozens of polling booth attendants, police die from exhaustion

So far 12 and four polling booth attendants respectively in West Java and South Sulawesi provinces have died due to their prolonged duties in the polling booths.
So far 12 and four polling booth attendants respectively in West Java and South Sulawesi provinces have died due to their prolonged duties in the polling booths.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (XINHUA) - An evaluation would be conducted on Indonesia's election process, following the deaths of dozens of police officers and attendants who had served in several polling booths in the country, head of Indonesia's General Elections Commission (KPU) Arief Budiman said last Saturday (April 20).

The victims were said to have died due to extreme exhaustion after the vote counting process.

KPU  commissioner Viryan Aziz said 54 members of polling station working committees died during and after the 2019 General Elections on April 17.

“Fifty-four people passed away and another 32 have fallen ill,” he said, as reported by Tempo online news on Monday (April 22).

KPU head Mr Arief said: "Yes, we will evaluate it. Their jobs were really hard, have many responsibilities in their tasks. Exhaustion most likely happened to them while they carried out their duties."

Adding to the number of deaths of those handling the elections, Indonesia Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said last Friday that 10 police officers have died from sickness, exhaustion and mishaps related to their tasks of guarding the polling booths or delivering the elections necessities to remote areas.

West Java Provincial KPU chairman Rifqi Almubarok said counting the votes and filling the official documents in the polling booths took too much time.

Polling booth attendants were obliged to finish vote counting on both the presidential and legislative elections later in the night after the ballot casting last Wednesday morning.


"Based on our monitoring, all of those duties were averagely settled at 5am the next day. In some cases, it was even finished at 12pm the next day. There were no pauses in all of those jobs. Exhaustion was inevitable," Mr Rifqi said last Saturday.

Indonesia saw an unprecedented election this year, as voters were obliged to directly vote for president and vice-president pairings as well as members of central and regional parliaments at the same time.

The 2019 election in Indonesia was unique, as it was conducted within eight hours nationwide, with over 192 million listed eligible voters. Two million of them voted in 130 cities overseas earlier, before the nationwide schedule.

The KPU provided more than 809,500 polling booths in 524 cities and regencies for the voters to cast their votes. Some 24.8 trillion rupiah (S$2.39 billion) was allocated to finance the political event.

The 2019 elections registered a participation rate of around 82 per cent, the highest level in the nation's history.

According to quick counts - unofficial results organised by polling agencies - President Joko Widodo won 54.5 per cent of votes while his rival Prabowo Subianto earned 45.5 per cent of votes.

The KPU is scheduled to officially announce winner of the election after it settles the manual vote counting on May 22.