A report by our staffer, Dayu Diah, who was born and raised in Ubud.

Millions of eligible voters cast their ballots in the Indonesian legislative election today, and today’s election was declared a public holiday to give the voters the chance to cast their ballot without interrupting their work. The election was held to choose members of the the following: the Regional Representative Council (DPD), members of the People’s Representative Council (DPR) and members of regional assemblies at the provincial (DPRD I) and regency/municipality level (DPRD II). There were 12 national parties to contest this 2014 legislative election.

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Voters were given four ballot papers: one each for the National People’s Representative Council (DPR) and Regional Representative Council (DPD), and one each for their local provincial and regency/municipality Regional Representative Councils (DPRD I and DPRD II). Candidates for the DPR and DPRDI/II were included on their party’s platform: the ballot papers had a section for each of the parties with the party’s number and symbol. Under the symbols, that party’s candidates were listed. Voters voted for just the party or one of the candidates (or both) by punching a hole in the ballot paper with the tool provided. Candidates for the DPD stood on an individual basis, so voters simply needed to punch a hole in the candidate’s picture, ballot number or name.

In Ubud itself, the polling took place in 106 polling stations located in  bale banjar community halls and schools. The polling station opened at 7 AM and most of them finished by 1 PM. Then they started to count the ballots, which took quite some time.

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Large, unwieldy ballots with scores of candidates listed on each created delays as voters struggled with them, particularly folding them after making their selection.

From what we saw, there were several long queues at the polling stations this morning: those four oversized, unwieldy ballot papers and various names, symbols, parties and pictures seemed to be a bit of a headache for  the voters who inevitably took a long time to find and then punch their choices in.  The main problem stated by most voters was “It’s hard to fold those wide ballot papers”. Lucky for those voters who were assisted by staff – some polling station (TPS) actually provided their station with special “folding staff”. At the time of writing this article, the vote tabulation was still ongoing.

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It seems that some violations might have influenced the fairness of the election at some polling stations. The most common was “Serangan Fajar” (literally “dawn attack”), bribing voters right at dawn prior to the polling session, at the voters’ homes. This tactic has been practiced since the so-called Reformation Era. Some female voters in Ubud said that they had been bribed between Rp 50,000 – Rp. 100,000 each, right there in their neighborhood.

At the moment, we are all hoping for the best, but we also should always prepare for the worst that might happen.

Get well soon Indonesia.

intro photo: ©Catriona Mitchell

 

other photos: ©Rio Helmi