Poll turns into a celebration for everyone
Paper Edition | Page: 9
Nothing up my sleeves:: Officers from the Regional Election Organizer Committee (KPPS) dressed in Islamic garb prepare to count votes at a polling station in Kota Bambu Utara in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday. JP/Ricky YudhistiraWednesday’s gubernatorial election was apparently more than just a political event for some Jakartans, who saw voting day as a big celebration for everyone.
Election officials at polling stations in every district were busily preparing for the election 24 hours before the voting began to take place.
They decorated the stations with kembang kelapa (colorful Betawi ornaments made of paper), ondel-ondel (Betawi giant effigies) and colorful flags.
In some areas, the roads had to be closed to make way for stations that were made simply of tarpaulin supported by bamboo.
The city also saw light traffic in the morning as many offices had closed during the election. Traffic started to increase later in the afternoon.
Many officials wore Betawi-style clothing, and some even wore traditional costumes from other cultures to liven up the event, and were ready to greet registered voters from 7 a.m.
At the TPS 31 polling station in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, queues of people were sometimes seen, waiting to get into the station.
“I’m so excited about today, I’ve made my choice and so ready to cast my vote,” Aurel Helena said after receiving her ballot paper.
It took her seconds to pin her choice in the booth before she put the paper in the box, stained her little finger with ink and left the station to join other voters to buy vegetables.
“Residents have flocked up here, so I decided to come and sell my vegetables. I’m all sold out now,” Arifin, the seller, said.
Djimantoro, another voter from the same station, said that although his office had opened during polling day, it did not mean that he would miss the election.
“I’m an eligible voter, I know who to vote for, and hopefully my candidate can win the battle,” he said, while showing his finger to prove he had voted.
Other polling stations also offered many kinds of entertainment during the election, from free meals for voters and tambourine performances to a singing session to kill the boredom.
The real entertainment for the public began as soon as the polling closed at 1 p.m.
The vote counting process had attracted spectators interested in how their choice had impacted the election.
One official usually opened the ballot box, another read the ballot paper out loud while showing it to the witnesses and spectators.
“It’s legitimate!” said the witnesses, who were often echoed by the audience, referring to the papers that were being officially counted.
One official wrote it on the big board for others to see. With one vote, one hash mark is written on the board.
The witnesses, who are representatives of the six candidates, would question the official if the mark could not be seen clearly.
The audience clapped and cheered happily if the official announced the candidate they supported. On other occasions, audience members jokingly jeered one another.
“Hooray, free school,” said one voter.
“No, that’s a lie,” replied another at Kota Bambu Utara polling station in West Jakarta.
The voters whose candidates did not triumph at their polling stations tried to accept the defeat.
“An election is just like a game. There’s someone who wins and someone who loses. At least I’ve shown my support to the candidate,” said Handi at the Menteng Tenggulun station in Central Jakarta.