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Over 90 Poll Workers Die of Exhaustion during Indonesian Elections

Over 90 Poll Workers Die of Exhaustion during Indonesian Elections
folder_openAsia-Pacific... access_time7 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies

Indonesia held the world's largest single-day vote on April 17, 2019; those involved in the process faced tremendous logistical challenges.

Selvianus Itranbey, the head of Polling Station No. 1 Head in Adodo Molu Village, Tanimbar Islands District, Maluku, died of exhaustion while attending his region's 22 April plenary meeting on ballot recapitulation in the wake of simultaneous legislative and presidential elections.

Speaking to the press in Jakarta Monday, the Chairman of the National General Election Commission said protracted working hours had resulted in the death of 91 officers of the Polling Station Working Committees in 19 Indonesian provinces, with 374 others falling sick due to fatigue.

Thus, the nationwide poll officers’ death toll has reached 92.

"We convey our deepest condolences over the death of Selvianus, head of the Polling Station No 1 in Adodo Molu," Syamsul Rifan Kubangun, Maluku General Election Office head, remarked Tuesday.

The KPU intends to meet with the Finance Ministry's officials on Tuesday for discussions on financial compensation to be offered in cases of death and illness that are not covered under insurance.

On the subject of financial compensation, the commission has suggested from Rp30 million ($2,130) to Rp36 million ($2,556) to the kin of the deceased, close to Rp30 million ($2,130) for the sick, and maximum of Rp16 million ($1,136) to those who are wounded.

In the meantime, exhaustion claimed the lives of six TPS officers in South Sumatra, and two were sent to hospital after running polling stations in their areas.

Four officers in North Sulawesi also died from exhaustion arising from organizing the elections.

The election officers were reportedly overburdened with tasks involving serving voters and completing the ballot counting process. They were given only meal breaks, with Muslims taking prayer breaks, according to reports.

Indonesia organized the world's largest and most complicated single-day vote on April 17, 2019, in which 192 million were eligible to cast their ballot.

The logistical challenges were overwhelming, with six million election workers recruited and trained to oversee more than 810,000 polling stations, spread across hundreds of islands. The polling staff were required to travel by airplane, boat, and on foot. On the whole, election officers worked non-stop for almost 48 hours, as they had to make preparations for the logistics and facilities for the electoral process a day before voting.

The elections on 17 April were the first vote in the history of the country during which they simultaneously elected a president, vice president, members of the national parliament, and local lawmakers.