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Voting Requirement Becomes an Issue

Nearly 71,000 Jakarta Residents Potentially Unable to Vote

JAKARTA, KOMPAS — A new voting requirement in the 2017 Regional Elections make voters potentially loose their voting rights. If this is not handled properly it could trigger conflicts in 101 regions that will hold elections in the next two weeks.

Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo  (right) speaks during a coordination meeting for the election of regional heads in Jakarta on Tuesday (31/1/2017). Other speakers at the meeting were (sitting, from left to right) Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian, Coordinating Political, Law and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto, General Elections Commission chairman Juri Ardiantoro, and the chairman of the General Elections Supervisory Agency, Muhammad. The coordination meeting dealt with preparations for the simultaneous regional elections on February 15.
KOMPAS/YUNIADHI AGUNGHome Minister Tjahjo Kumolo (right) speaks during a coordination meeting for the election of regional heads in Jakarta on Tuesday (31/1/2017). Other speakers at the meeting were (sitting, from left to right) Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian, Coordinating Political, Law and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto, General Elections Commission chairman Juri Ardiantoro, and the chairman of the General Elections Supervisory Agency, Muhammad. The coordination meeting dealt with preparations for the simultaneous regional elections on February 15.

To be able to vote in the 2017 Regional Elections on Feb.15, voters must be registered in the voters list. Alternatively, voters must have electronic identity card. If they do not have e-ID, voters can still be able to vote as long as they have a letter from the Civil Registry Office explaining that they are registered citizens.

The requirement in the Law No.10/2016 on Regional Elections is different from that in the 2015 Regional Elections based on Law No.8/2015.

In the 2015 elections, in order to vote the voters must get registered in the voters list or own ID card. If they are neither registered nor own ID card, they can show other ID cards such as driving license, family members list or passport.

During the National Coordination Meeting on the 2017 Elections in Jakarta on Tuesday (31/1/2017), acting Jakarta Governor Sumarsono said there were nearly 71,000 Jakarta residents who have not got their personal data recorded for e-ID. Personal data was needed to get a letter from the civil registry office telling the e-ID was unfinished. The letter can be used to vote in the Jakarta elections.

On the other hand, there were complaints because the letter in substitute of e-ID is easily forged.

"We actually have tried to find people who have not recorded their personal data but we cannot find them," Sumarsono said during a meeting organized by the Home Ministry. Also present at the event which was closed by Vice President Jusuf Kalla were several ministers, Indonesian Military commander, National Police chief, election organizers and the heads of the regions.

Other regions

The fact that there are residents who have not recorded their personal data does not only occur in Jakarta. South Sulawesi General Elections Commission (KPU) chairman Iqbal Latief said in Takalar regency, South Sulawesi, there are around 2,000 residents who have not registered in the voters list and have not recorded their personal data that they have neither got ID card nor a letter from the civil registry office.

"Local civil registry office finds it hard to carry out personal data recording and issue letters for thousand of people because the office only has one recording device," he said.

Similar issues are found in seven regions in Southeast Sulawesi that will organize the 2017 concurrent elections. KPU Southeast Sulawesi chairman Hidayatullah said the civil registry offices in those seven regions have agreed to settle the problem. However, he estimated there are thousand of voters are not registered by the officials. "I am worried they would come on the voting day and insist to vote," he said.

If they are not allowed to vote, there will be a potential conflict. It could be worse if those people support particular candidate.

KPU chairman Juri Ardiantoro added similar reports came from other regions. In Bekasi, for example, KPU received reports about around 6,963 people who have not met the requirement to vote.

Elections Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) chairman Muhammad said, based on its mapping, inaccurate voters data becomes an issue that potentially could trigger conflict especially during the voting day.

Bawaslu demanded the government, especially the Home Ministry, to find solution to this problem particularly regarding those unregistered in the population data, have no e-ID and have no supplementary letter.

Home Ministry population and civil registry director general Zudan Arif Fakrulloh said socialization has been carried out so that people would process documents in the civil registry office. He assured the letter would be issued as soon as possible.

The population and civil registry offices in the 101 regions that will organize elections, Zudan said, will open services on Feb.15. Thus, residents who have not met the voting requirement can come to the office and process the document to get the voting rights.

Such policy is taken to help poll committees at the polling stations verify the validity of the letters to vote. "If they are unsure, the officials can come to the civil registry office," he added.

KPU Jakarta and Bawaslu Jakart have sent letters to the Jakarta civil registry office, demanding data on the number of notification letters it has issued and the identities of the recipients.

KPU Jakarta chairman Sumarno said the data would then be distributed to the polling stations and campaign teams of the three pairs of candidates so that they can also monitor them.

Money politics

In his closing speech, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said ethnicity, religion, race and communal group (SARA) issues must be avoided during the regional elections. The national unity will be put to a test.

Regarding issues of possible mass rallies during the cooling-off period or on voting day, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Minister Wiranto urged people to drop the plan. "Essentially, there must be no mass gathering or activities to lure voters during cooling-off period. If there is any activities, it is a law violation," he said.

Wiranto also asked elections supervision officials and security personnel to have synergy to prevent money politics during regional elections.

Bawaslu chairman Muhammad said the mapping of potential risks by Bawaslu includes detecting the mode of money politics in each region. "From the mapping, if the act of money politics comes from the candidates and their teams, Bawaslu would approach to them. If it is from the voters, there must be more socialization. If it involves the election organizers, then it will need more intense training," he said.

In the Law No.10/2016, it says the criminal sentence does not apply only for actors of money politics. Recipients of the money politics could also be charged. Also, the nomination of candidates could also be cancelled.

(APA/NDY/IRE/INA/AIN WHO/BAY/KOR/ESA/ZAK)

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