Scores of Election Staff Dead After Indonesian Polls

More than 270 election staff have died from overwork-related illnesses.
Wednesday 1 May 2019
Indonesian workers transport ballot boxes for the upcoming general elections at the Bonto Matinggi village, Maros, South Sulawesi on 16 April 2019. Photo: AFP

As of Saturday night, 272 election officers were dead and another 1,878 were sick after helping to administer the world’s biggest single-day elections on 17 April, CNN Indonesia reported.

Six million election workers were involved in the election, which was billed as one of the most complicated single-day ballots ever undertaken. CNN has not been able to independently verify the claims made by the election official.

For the first time, Indonesia held its presidential and legislative elections on the same day, with around 192.8 million people across the archipelago’s 17,000 islands eligible to vote in more than 800,000 polling stations. Arief Priyo Susanto, spokesman of the General Elections Commission, known as the KPU, said the election officials had mostly died from overwork-related illnesses, according to CNN-affiliate SBS.

Indonesian Polls Workers AFP (2) - election
An Indonesian mahout and officials load election materials on an elephant heading to a polling station during the presidential election in Trumon, Southern Aceh province on 17 April 2019. Photo: AFP

According to CNN Indonesia‘s report, General Elections Commission chief Arief Budiman acknowledged the officers had been overworked. He said that was partly due to the tight timeline to deliver the election results, and the decision to hold the presidential and legislative elections simultaneously. CNN has made attempts to contact KPU and has reached out to Indonesia’s government for comment.

Sandiaga Uno, the running mate of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, said fundamental mistakes had been made in how the election was implemented. “If the victims continue to fall, there is something fundamentally very wrong,” he said, according to CNN Indonesia.

Early results indicated that incumbent Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had secured a second term, winning the presidency for a second time against longtime rival Prabowo. Prabowo initially claimed that alternative polls by his own team put him in the lead.

Early “quick counts” of the ballots put Jokowi around 55% of the vote, with Prabowo winning around 44%. “Quick counts” are conducted by a variety of credible polling agencies and have proved reliable in the past. Final official results will be announced by 22 May.

Source: CNN

Related: What You Need to Know About Indonesia’s Huge Presidential Election