270+ Election Officials Die in Indonesia


Jordan Esposito

Over 270 election officials in Indonesia died after they worked one of the most complicated single-day pollings ever on April 17th. This was the first time that Indonesia had its legislative and presidential elections on the same day. Around 192.8 million people were eligible to vote at over 800,000 polling stations. It is estimated that about 80% of eligible voters voted.

The Komisi Pemilihan Umum (commonly referred to as KPU), translating to General Elections Commission in English, has come under fire about how they handled the election and how they treated the 6 million election workers.

According to Evi Novida Ginting, a KPU commissioner, the deaths were primarily caused by heart attacks and exhaustion. She also described the election workers as “dedicated and devoted [but] sadly at the cost of neglecting their own physical health.” Ginting also said, “The number of deaths during this year’s general elections came as a surprise to us. There were work-related deaths during the previous elections, but not this many.”

Indonesia does not use computers for its elections, so all votes must be counted by hand. The official results of the presidential election are not expected to be announced until May 22nd. The current president, Joko Widodo, is about 10 percentage points ahead of his opponent, Prabowo Subianto. However, both candidates have declared victory. Subianto is also alleging voter fraud in the county. If the claim of voter fraud is recognized, the votes may need to be recounted by hand.

When Lakewood High junior, Aiden Kelley, heard the news about the election workers, she said, “It is rather unfortunate that the election workers worked themselves to death. Also, I think that they should just switch to automated vote counting so fewer workers will need to work fewer hours for future elections.”