Election officials don superhero costumes at a polling booth in Surabaya, East Java, on April 17. (Antara Foto/ Zabur Karuru)

Government to Pay $3.5m in Compensation to Families of Dead Election Officials

BY :YUSTINUS PAATH & ARIES SUDIONO

APRIL 30, 2019

Jakarta. The General Elections Commission, or KPU, is preparing to pay up to $3.5 million in compensation to families of more than 300 election officials who have died from fatigue-related illnesses caused by having to count millions of ballot papers by hand.

KPU secretary general Arif Rahman Hakim said the commission has prepared a compensation fund of Rp 40-50 billion ($2.8-3.5 million) for the families of election staff who died or fell ill while doing their job. 

"We've revised the size of the compensation fund, now it's around Rp 40-50 billion," Arif said on Monday.

Families of election staff who died on the job will receive Rp 36 million. Officials who now suffer from a permanent disability will receive Rp 30.8 million. Staff who suffered lighter injuries will receive Rp 8.2-16.5 million.

The new compensation fund was approved by the Finance Ministry on Monday morning, Arif said.

Indonesia held its presidential and legislative elections simultaneously on April 17. It was the largest single-day elections in the world and the government spent $1.7 billion on organizing it.

A total of 7.4 million election officials were hired to man more than 820,000 polling stations scattered across the archipelago.

Many of them were located on difficult terrains with no road access. Officials often had to transport the ballot boxes on foot. Most of them are freelance workers hired to work between April 10 and May 9.

By 4 p.m. on Monday, KPU data showed 311 election officials have died due to fatigue, traffic accidents or stress-related illnesses.

No data was available on the number of officials who suffered from heavy injuries or have become disabled, but the KPU said 2,232 officials have fallen ill.

Surabaya mayor Tri Rismaharini has promised to give scholarships and jobs to children of dead election officials in the city. 

She said scholarships and jobs will be more useful for the future of the families. 

18 police officers also died on the job during the elections. 

"Election officials should not have to die doing their job. Let's make sure this doesn't happen again in the future," Tri said.

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