An election official carries ballot papers from a local election commission warehouse in Lhokseumawe, Aceh, on Monday (15/04). (Antara Photo/Rahmad)

Election Heroes


APRIL 21, 2019

For a few dedicated election officials, the election can literally mean death. 

Below the surface, the elections hide uncomfortable truths of punishing labor by millions of poorly paid part-time workers and security forces who break their backs to ensure that every vote is cast and accounted for.

Around 193 million people were scheduled to vote in presidential, legislative and regional elections last Wednesday (17/04) at more than 813,000 polling stations, making it the most complex single-day election in the world.  

For most of the workers, it was arguably the hardest task of their lives. Over a span of 24 hours, they had to be on full alert to set up and prepare voting booths, hold the election, count and recount thousands of ballots, and report the results accurately to the General Elections Commission (KPU).

They could not afford to rest, as the slightest deviation from regulations would land them in prison. They barely closed their eyes and sleeping was impossible. 

For some workers, the stress and fatigue were too much to handle. Their bodies gave up and they simply collapsed. A moment later they were gone.

TNI and Polri personnel guard the election logistics distribution to the Meru Betiri National Park area in Bandealit, Andongrejo, Tempurejo, Jember, East Java on Monday (15/04). A muddy road can only be passed using a horse. (Antara Foto / Seno)
A police officer and an Army soldier help an election official deliver ballot boxes on horseback in Jember, East Java. (Antara Photo/Seno)
Police escorted pedicab drivers carrying election logistics from polling station in Jalan Tambak Sari, Surabaya, East Java on Thursday (18/04). (Antara Foto / Didik Suhartono)
Becak (pedicab) was used to carry ballot boxes in Surabaya. (Antara Photo/Didik Suhartono)
Police and linmas officers brought election logistic to a remote polling station in the Lamanen Selatan in Belu, East Nusa Tenggara on Tuesday (16/04). The district has no transportation routes, so the election commitee have to pass through mountains and rivers (Antara Foto / Kornelis Kaha )
Election officials carry ballot boxes on a dirt road in Belu, East Nusa Tenggara, on Tuesday (16/04). (Antara Photo/Kornelis Kaha)
Officers distribute election logistics to the Baluran National Park area, Merak, Sumberwaru Village, Banyuputih, Situbondo, East Java on Tuesday (04/16).  (Antara Foto / Seno )
A boatful of ballot boxes bound to a remote island in Situbondo, East Java. (Antara Photo/Seno)
Election workers move the ballot box from the dock to the ship at the Sorong City Fisheries Port, West Papua on Tuesday (16/04). The Sorong City Election Commission began distributing election logistics on April 17 to 659 polling stations land and sea transportation. (Antara Foto / Olha Mulalinda)
Ballot boxes being transported on speed boats in Sorong, West Papua. (Antara Photo/Olha Mulalinda)
Police personnel guarded some porters across the river while carrying election logistics to two remote villages at the foot of the Meratus Mountains, Hulu Sungai Tengah Regency, South Kalimantan on Sunday (14/04).(Antara Foto / Bayu Pratama S )
Police officers carry ballot boxes across a river near Mt. Meratus in South Kalimantan. (Antara Photo/Bayu Pratama S.)
Southeast Sulawesi Regional Police personnel helped lift the logistics of the 2019 Election on a truck at the Kendari Regional Election Commission warehouse, Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, Tuesday (04/16/2019). (Antara Foto / Jojon )
Police officers load ballot boxes into a truck in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi. (Antara Photo/Jojon)
Sulistiyono (right) volunteers of 2019 General Election (Election) asked residents of the address of voters with special needs in Jombang, East Java. (Antara Foto/Syaiful Arif)
Sulistiyono, a volunteer, delivers crutches to disabled voters in Jombang, East Java. (Antara Foto/Syaiful Arif)
KPPS officers wearing superhero costume help people with disabilities to vote at polling station during 2019 general election in Pondok Benowo Indah at Surabaya, East Java on Wednesday (17/04).(Antara Foto/ Zabur Karuru)
An election official wearing a superhero costume helps a disabled voter cast his vote in Surabaya, East Java. (Antara Photo/Zabur Karuru)
Most election officials had to work through the night to complete the vote counting in North Lolu Village, Palu, Central Sulawesi, on Wednesday (17/04) (Antara Foto/Basri Marzuki)
An election official checks a ballot paper in the middle of the night in Palu, Central Sulawesi. (Antara Photo/Basri Marzuki)