Most Election Violations During Counting, Constitutional Court Says i

Hundreds of electoral commission workers prepare ballot papers for the upcoming presidential election in Depok, Indonesia, on June 25, 2014. Indonesians go to the polls on July 9. (EPA Photo/Adi Weda)

By : Jakarta Globe | on 9:05 AM July 02, 2014
Category : News, Politics, Featured, Corruption

Hundreds of electoral commission workers prepare ballot papers for the upcoming presidential election in Depok, Indonesia, on June 25, 2014. Indonesians go to the polls on July 9. (EPA Photo/Adi Weda) Hundreds of electoral commission workers prepare ballot papers for the upcoming presidential election in Depok, Indonesia, on June 25, 2014. Indonesians go to the polls on July 9. (EPA Photo/Adi Weda)

Jakarta. The Constitutional Court has warned that based on recent legislative election cases it has handled, most election violations were committed during the vote counting process.

“Our evaluation shows that violations mostly occurred during vote counting, or the recapitulation process at the village, ward and subdistrict level. That’s where opportunities for violations are high. The MK [Constitutional Court] trial did not find many violations committed at the district level,” Chief Justice Hamdan Zoelva said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Although he did not provide statistics, Hamdan maintained that few violations were committed during the voting process as opposed to the vote counting process.

Hamdan expressed his hope that the General Elections Commission (KPU) and Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) would take note of the problems especially now that the presidential election is near.

“Surely the polling committees need to take note of this,” Hamdan said.

Jerry Sumampouw, coordinator of the Indonesian Voters Committee (TEPI), said presidential candidates treated surveys as benchmarks for their campaigns and if the surveys showed their electability declining, they could manipulate the election process to rig the vote.

“The potential for violations is big by paying or bribing election committee members. This is very likely given the lack of supervision on this matter,” Jerry said.

He said violations were committed mostly by poll committee members (PPS) on the ward level and poll committee members at the subdistrict level (PPK).

“That’s because the risks are very small on these two levels,” Jerry explained.

He said that aside from lower risks, the violations were also encouraged by a lack of strict sanctions, adding that criminal sanction should be imposed to serve as a deterrent to violators.

“All this time there had only been administrative sanctions but they failed to serve as a deterrent,” Jerry lamented.

Multiple security layers

Emrus Sihombing, director of pollster Emrus Corner, said violations can still be prevented with multiple security layers.

“Violations can be overcome with the introduction of multiple security layers. First of all, by compiling written reports on the results of vote counts at polling stations, with officials and witnesses taking photos of it with smartphones and immediately sending it to the KPU in the district or city, provincial or central level through MMS,” Emrus said.

Afterwards the ballot boxes that were transported to districts should be under constant police supervision.

He also suggested that every ballot box should be equipped with at least three padlocks.

“There should be at least three padlocks on every electoral box, one from the KPU, and one each from the witnesses of both presidential candidates, with each of them having a different password,” Emrus suggested.

Volunteers for the Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla camp said they have found several kinds of violations.

Aside from the smear campaign through the distribution of Obor Rakyat tabloid, which was published by Setiyardi Budiono, a member of the presidential office, Joko’s camp had also been on the receiving end of intimidation and violence, to prevent them from winning, said Sinnal Blegur, head of the National Committee for the Victory of Joko-Kalla .

Sinnal said volunteers have also found money politics committed by their rival in order to win voters’ sympathy.

In Pemalang, Central Java, ballot papers were discovered with the picture of the Prabowo-Hatta camp already punctured, which suggests a vote for the pair.

Hendrik Sirait, secretary general of the Alliance of Civilians for Great Indonesia (Almisbat), said he had difficulties to obtain a permit to hold a gathering to declare his organization’s support for Joko-Kalla in Garut, West Java, on Saturday.

Hendrik said Almisbat was also banned from putting up banners for security reasons.

“Various Jokowi-JK campaign items weren’t allowed to be placed at strategic places. This is contradictory to Prabowo-Hatta campaign items that were allowed to be placed in every part of the city,” Hendrik said.

He said the wards in West Java were also not neutral.

“This made villagers afraid to wear or use T-shirts bearing Jokowi’s picture,” the Almisbat secretary general said.

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