A month before the presidential and parliamentary elections, Indonesia has decided to lower the age of application and mandate health status verification procedures as it hired voting managers. The measure was taken to prevent the same from happening again after hundreds of voting managers died of overwork in the last presidential election.
According to a report by the Jakarta Post on the 17th, the Indonesian Election Commission (KPU) is recruiting voting managers to conduct voting and votes in the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for the 14th of next month. This time, unlike before, the eligibility for voting managers was limited to those under the age of 55, and medical examinations including blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels were required to be submitted.
This is because about 900 poll workers died of overwork in the Indonesia elections in April 2019. The Jakarta Post said, “In the 2019 election, about 900 people who participated in voting management died and more than 5,000 were sick due to heavy work. It was unprecedented in the history of the Indonesian election.” At that time, the Indonesian government reportedly delivered a one-year salary-level compensation for minimum wage workers to the bereaved families.
The reason why this happened was that the election at that time was a huge election with 190 million voters, with presidential, general, and local elections. 800,000 polling stations were set up in various parts of Indonesia, consisting of 17,000 islands and 5,000 kilometers in length from east to west of the country, and 7 million people were mobilized for voting management and counting. At the time, BBC pointed out that 80% of 190 million voters participated in the vote, adding, “It was the biggest and most complicated election.” Voting officials suffered from a few nights of hard work and numerous deaths occurred in the process. BBC and the Guardian analyzed that voting officials accumulated fatigue due to long hours of vote counting in the heat, and that the death occurred because they did not check their health conditions in advance.
There were rumors of election fraud, saying that the dead poll workers were poisoned, but the Indonesian government said at the time that most of the dead poll workers were in their 50s and 70s and suffered from health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure
This time, in addition to lowering the age of voting officials’ qualifications to prevent mishaps like in the past, wages will more than double from 2019.
The size of this election is similar to the size of the last one. The number of voters in the election reaches 205 million, and they hold both presidential and parliamentary elections every day. The party plans to hire 5.7 million poll workers and run 820,000 polling stations nationwide.