The Pontianak mayoralty in West Kalimantan is exploring the possibility of using the Internet to register eligible voters for the upcoming mayoral election.
The local chapter of the General Elections Commission (KPUD) is considering the idea in light of the fact that Internet use had expanded steadily and involved broader coverage than in previous years.
KPUD Pontianak head Viryan Azis said Saturday that online tools had created opportunities to reach the public at a time when a large number of people were familiar with the Internet and used it in their daily activities in the city.
“Manual registration will continue at subdistrict offices up to the neighborhood communities. However, because it has not met our expections, we have taken the initiative to expand it by utilizing the Internet,” Viryan said.
KPUD Pontianak, Viryan said, was in the process of studying how to directly accommodate the public’s online feedback on the list of eligible voters. He further said that the voters list was expected to be completed in March or April 2013, for the mayoral election to be held in September or
At the KPUD level, data will be processed into a provisional list and will be formulated into an online list. Through the online system, residents who have not been registered will be encouraged to input their details directly on the online page.
“We will also explore the possibility of issuing voter cards by downloading them from the Internet so as to make things easy for the voters, because they will be able to print the cards at home,” Viryan said.
For the next mayoral election, KPUD Pontianak has proposed a budget of Rp 18.5 billion (US$1.92 million). The previous election cost only Rp 7 billion ($726,000) even though the local administration earmarked funds of Rp 12 billion, he said.
Pontianak legislator Arif Jhony Prasetyo reminded KPUD to emphasize the importance of the protection and validation of the online system. Even though the online list of voters would be more convenient for many residents, negative aspects that might arise in the future had to be anticipated. “This is a positive breakthrough,” Arif said.
During the West Kalimantan gubernatorial election last September, the KPUD utilized Facebook as a means to disseminate information to over 400,000 eligible voters, and to host an competition to spread voter education messages.