Election season: Indonesia

Indonesia votes: Some overseas citizens have trouble casting ballots

JAKARTA • Problems are still lingering a week before Indonesia's simultaneous legislative and presidential elections, with overseas voters uncertain about whether they can exercise their right to vote.

The General Elections Commission has slated April 8 to 14 for overseas voters to cast their ballots.

The Overseas Elections Committee (PPLN) says there are three ways that Indonesians can vote - direct voting at polling stations, mail voting and drop-box voting.

The vote count will be held on April 17.

But some are in the dark about voting day. Ms Sringatin, an Indonesian migrant worker in Hong Kong, said that as of Sunday afternoon, she had not been registered yet for the upcoming elections.

She said she did not know how she would participate as she had not received any notification despite having registered online.

"I'm not the only one who is experiencing this. Many other migrant workers are complaining about the same thing," said Ms Sringatin, who is also the coordinator of the Indonesian Migrant Worker Network in Hong Kong.


"We have complained about this issue to the PPLN and Indonesia's representative but they have not come up with any solutions."

Like her, Ms Luky Setyarini, an Indonesian software engineer living in Bonn, Germany, is also facing obstacles in exercising the right to vote as her ballot paper has yet to reach her.

Ms Luky was already registered to vote and was notified that she should do so by mail.

However, after the Frankfurt PPLN announced that it had distributed all the ballots, Ms Luky and her family discovered that they had not yet received theirs.

"We enquired at the PPLN and a delivery service firm about the papers but they said the papers had already been sent to my address. No one at home ever met the deliverer, let alone take the papers," she said.

She added that she and her husband would check the delivery service warehouse on Monday to trace the papers.

"The PPLN said I was listed as having voted by mail," she said.

PPLN head Wajid Fauzi told The Jakarta Post that he had received reports on such shortcomings and had instructed overseas election committees to "take the necessary measures so that no Indonesians lose their right to vote".

The election commission said on Wednesday that voting overseas had begun smoothly, with ballots being cast in parts of Thailand, Yemen, Ecuador and Panama.

In Singapore, registered voters living or working in the Republic will cast their ballots at the Indonesian embassy on Sunday.

About 50 polling stations will be set up on embassy grounds to accommodate about 127,000 registered voters. There are more than 200,000 Indonesian citizens living or working in Singapore.


The election commission is hoping that total participation for this election will increase to more than 50 per cent, higher than the 2014 presidential election, which saw between 33 per cent and 35 per cent.

Participation for the legislative election, which was also held in the same year, was 22 per cent.

"It is expected that participation will be higher due to increased enthusiasm because the upcoming elections will be the first simultaneous elections in Indonesia," Mr Wajid said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2019, with the headline 'Some overseas citizens have trouble casting ballots'. Print Edition | Subscribe