Constitutional Court has rejected a petition on Tuesday that called for quick-count results to be published before the last polling stations close. (Antara Photos/Galih Pradipta)

Constitutional Court Reaffirms Delay on Publication of Exit Poll Data

BY :NUR YASMIN AND TELLY NATHALIA

APRIL 16, 2019

Jakarta. The Constitutional Court rejected a petition on Tuesday for a judicial review of the 2017 Election Law, which only permits exit poll data in national elections to be published two hours after the end of voting in Indonesia's western time zone.

Indonesia will hold its first simultaneous presidential and legislative elections on Wednesday.

The petition was filed by seven applicants, but the court ruled that the seventh was ineligible before the law. The remaining six were the Indonesian Public Opinion Research Association (Aropi), Indicators Indonesian Politics, Cyrus Nusantara and broadcasters Televisi Transformasi Indonesia (TransTV), Media Televisi Indonesia (MetroTV), Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI), Lativi Mediakarya (TVOne) and Indosiar Visual Mandiri (Indosiar).

The applicants sought permission to announce quick-count results during the so-called calm period, currently prohibited by the law, which only allows publication at the soonest two hours after the last polling stations close, which would likely be at 1 p.m. Western Indonesian Time.

The archipelago is divided into three time zones – eastern, central and western – with Eastern Indonesian Time two hours ahead of Western Indonesian Time.

The panel of judges expressed concern that publishing the quick-count results during the calm period could potentially and unduly sway the opinion of people in other time zones, who had yet to vote.

"We have decided to reject the applicants' plea in its entirety," the presiding judge, Anwar Usman, said while reading out the verdict, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

The two-hour limit also serves to prevent pollsters from being paid by candidates to sway the outcome in their favor, thus ensuring the integrity of the election. 

"This condition will affect the integrity and independence of the peoples' voices," said Enny Nurbaningsih, another member of the panel of judges.

The court ruled that postponing the announcement does not defy people's constitutional right to information, because it is only a momentary delay.

"Because of advances in information technology, the results of quick counts can easily be broadcasted, so they [broadcasters] have the potential to influence the choice of some voters, as they may have a psychological motivation to side with the winning candidate," the judge said.

Penalties

Following the court's decision, the General Elections Commission (KPU) warned pollsters that they may face up to 18 months' imprisonment and fines of Rp 18 million ($1,300) if they violate the ruling.

"So the quick-count results cannot be released before the schedule prescribed by law. We warn you, because violating this rule is a criminal offense," KPU commissioner Wahyu Setiawan said, as quoted by BeritaSatu.com.

The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has subsequently issued a letter warning broadcasters to comply with the Election Law.

The KPU meanwhile also officially recognized 40 registered pollsters that will be allowed to conduct quick counts. They are as follows:

  1. KedaiKOPI
  2. Poltracking Indonesia
  3. The Indonesia Research and Survey (IRES)
  4. Center for Research, Development, Education and Training of Radio Republik Indonesia
  5. Charta Politika Indonesia
  6. Indo Barometer
  7. Research and Development Kompas (Litbang Kompas)
  8. Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting (SMRC)
  9. Indikator Politik Indonesia
  10. Indekstat Konsultan Indonesia
  11. Indonesia Voices Network (JSI)
  12. Populi Center
  13. Lingkaran Survey Kebijakan Publik
  14. Indonesia Public Image (CPI)
  15.  Strategic Indonesia Survey (SSI)
  16.  Public Issues Network (JIP)
  17.  Indonesia Survey Circle (LSI)
  18.  Communication Image LSI (CKLSI)
  19. Indonesia Image Consultant (KCI)
  20. Public Image (CP)
  21. Cyrus Network
  22. Rataka Institute
  23. Quadrant Survey Agency (LSK)
  24. Media Survey Nasional
  25. Indodata
  26. Celebes Research Center
  27. Three-Tires Consultant (RTK)
  28. Indomatrik
  29. Puskaptis
  30. Center of Indonesia Research (PRI)
  31. Indonesia Survey Institute (LSI)
  32. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  33. Voxpol Center Research & Consulting
  34. Fixpoll Media Polling Indonesia
  35. Cirus Surveyors Group
  36. Arus Survei Indonesia
  37. Konsepindo Research and Consulting
  38. PolMark Indonesia
  39. Parameter Konsultindo
  40. Lembaga Real Count Nusantara‎

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