KPU reports that 272 of their temporary workforce have died due to fatigue or linked illnesses, brought about by long hours of counting votes by hand, whilst 1878 other staff have fallen ill.
As mentioned in a previous article, the 17th April votes were one of the largest election operations in the world, as Presidential elections were tied together with national and regional parliamentary votes – apparently in order to save money.
Around the archipelago there were over 800 million polling stations to give voting chances to 193 million elligible voters in the country – of which 80% did indeed vote.
With such a huge operation, the KPU (General Elections Committee) took on temporary staff to help civil servants tackle the task at hand – but with rushed deadlines and mounting pressure, working into the night in less than acceptable conditions took their toll on some of these temporary staff.
Their job, generally, was to count the millions of ballot papers by hand. A rudimentary task but taxing nontheless. Nikkei Asian Review reported that the families of the deceased would be compensated IDR 36,000,000 – hardly an apt compensation for someone’s life.
Yet, despite deaths and sickness now a part of the election’ history, pressure continues to grow as both Presidential Candidates now assume victory. It will be the blood, sweat and tears of these ballot counters that will give us the truth – lets hope their work is not in vain and the losing candidate does not condemn or deny their hard work.
22 May 2019 cannot come sooner. Indonesia awaits its fate.