News Focus

Fixing voter list crucial for legitimacy of 2019 elections

Fixing voter list crucial for legitimacy of 2019 elections

(Antara SUmbar/ Ira Febrianti)

With less than 20 days to go before over 192 million Indonesians are expected to cast their votes in the 2019 legislative and presidential elections, discrepancies have cropped up yet again in the Official Voter List (DPT).

The national campaign team (BPN) of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto had complained to the General Elections Commission (KPU) several times about irregularities noticed in the list since last year.

In July 2018, a coalition of parties supporting Subianto had discovered some 25 million duplicate voters in the Temporary Voter List (DPS).

On September 5, 2018, the coalition received the final DPT, and still found 8,145,713 duplicate names in the list. The KPU at that time promised that they would correct the list by November 2018.

On March 29, 2019, BPN representatives visited the KPU headquarters again to discuss the problem. The delegation was led by BPN Director for Media and Communication Hashim Djojohadikusumo, who was accompanied by BPN spokesman Habiburokhman. The closed-door meeting was held in the office of KPU Chairman Arief Budiman.

Earlier, the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno campaign team had demanded that the Commission fix the invalid or incorrect DPT, which included the discovery of 17.5 million names on it.

"The KPU headquarters should not only conduct research, but also an on-field validation and verification of the DPT data as soon as possible. If there is a will, there is a way," Agus Maksum, chairman of the team in charge of information and technology, stated at the Parliament Building in Jakarta, on March 26, 2019.

The team reported its findings to the KPU on March 1, 2019, but flaws were still found in the DPT, which the KPU promised would be fixed, he noted.

Tracing the list, the team found odd and abnormal data pertaining to voters, such as voters with birth dates on January 1, July 1, and December 31, comprising 2.3 million, 9.8 million, and 5.4 million people, respectively, he said.

"Such data is not normal and is a result of invalid and duplicate data, as well as data that is yet to go through the matching and research process. For instance, at one polling station, 228 people were reported as born on the same date. These weird facts exist across hundreds of polling stations, concentrated in certain regions," he remarked.

The challenger's team also found alleged duplicated data in Family Cards (KK) or Single Identity Numbers (NIK), and as a consequence, there was duplicated DPT, reaching millions, in five provinces in Java alone.

In fact, the team claimed that it had found manipulated KK data.

"One KK has hundreds to thousands of names in Banyuwangi, Magelang, and other areas. This is a serious manipulation, as it is contrary to article 488 of Law No. 7 of 2017 on the General Elections," he stated.

The findings on invalid DPT were reported in East Java, Central Java, and Yogyakarta, among others.

"In other regions, the number of alleged abnormal DPT cases is some 18 million," he pointed out.

The DPT, which is not normal, logical or valid could threaten the legitimacy of the elections, he cautioned.

"This should be fixed as soon as possible. All of us do not want to see unjust and unfair general elections on April 17, 2019.

"We urge the Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) to strengthen supervision over the KPU," he noted.

In the list, there are more than 300 thousand people aged over 90 years, over 20 thousand voters aged under 17 years, people who were born in 1873 and 1874, and even voters identified as Sharmila and Heni Anggraini, who were born on July 1, 0107.

Over one hundred foreigners holding Indonesia’s electronic identity cards (e-ID) were earlier also found in the list, but the KPU said their names were later removed.

The Commission has deleted the names of 101 foreigners from the DPT, as they do not have the right to vote in Indonesia's legislative and presidential elections.

The Home Affairs Ministry had earlier revealed that out of 1,680 foreigners with Indonesia's e-ID cards, 103 names were initially mistakenly included in the DPT. After rechecking, the KPU found only 102 names of foreigners on the list, and a foreigner, identified as Guillaume, was listed twice.

Commenting on the irregular findings, House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo last year had urged the KPU to address the problem of duplicate voters in the DPT.

"The KPU must continue to update the data, so the DPT for the 2019 general elections is clean and valid," the house speaker noted, adding that invalid data would be prone to abuse and misuse in the general elections.

A valid DPT is crucial to ensure the legitimacy of the upcoming elections, and hence, KPU needs to prioritize the handling of the DPT issue. Ignoring the problem could be fatal for the KPU, as it could unintentionally delegitimize itself as a fair executor of the elections.

Viryan Aziz, a KPU commissioner, on March 26, 2019, said that the Commission would fix the DPT this month.

He explained that the KPU couldn’t correct the problem right away because the Commission has to prepare for the elections.

“Manpower needs to be allocated, so it cannot be carried out immediately. In principle, Insya Allah we will finish it this month,” he said.

This year's race will be a re-run of the bitter 2014 presidential election that showcased the country's divide, as Joko Widodo (Jokowi) went head-to-head with Subianto.

Incumbent Jokowi has picked prominent ulema Ma'ruf Amin as his running mate, while Subianto has chosen successful and young businessman Sandiaga Uno as his running mate.