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Jakarta Post

Quick-count results to be revealed 2 hours after polls close: MK

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 16, 2019   /   06:14 pm
Quick-count results to be revealed 2 hours after polls close: MK Constitutional Court Presiding Justice Anwar Usman (center) flanked by (from left) justices Suhartoyo, Aswanto, Arief Hidayat and Enny Nurbaningsih leads a hearing to decide about the restriction of election quick-count results on Tuesday. (Antara/Galid Pradipta)

Pollsters are allowed to publish their quick counting results of the 2019 election two hours after polls in western Indonesia close on Wednesday, the Constitutional Court (MK) has declared.

In a ruling on Tuesday, the nine-panel bench rejected a judicial review petition filed by the Indonesian Public Opinion Research Association (AROPI) challenging Article 449, paragraph 5, of the 2017 Elections Law.

The court said it would uphold the provision to protect the voting rights of all Indonesians. This means that pollsters will only be allowed to reveal quick-count results at 3 p.m. western Indonesia time (WIB) or Jakarta time.

Justice Enny Nurbaningsih pointed out that Indonesia had three different time zones, and a two-hour difference between eastern Indonesia and Jakarta meant that voters living in the latter region would be casting their ballots earlier. And if pollsters were to release their data in real time, she added, quick counts would be made public before many voters in western Indonesia even had the chance to arrive at polling stations, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Because of advanced digital technology, it is much easier now to broadcast quick-count results. But this can potentially influence voters [who have yet to cast their ballots],” Enny said while reading out the ruling on Tuesday.

In the petition, AROPI argued that the provision contradicted the 1945 Constitution because it crippled the right to access and deliver information.

However, Enny countered that the provision did not violate people’s rights as it only delayed the release of early vote-counting results by two hours. The delay, she added, aimed at protecting the right to vote and ensuring a free and fair election.

The ruling on Tuesday marked the first time since 2009 that the court restricted the release of quick-count results. In 2014 and 2009, the court annulled similar provisions stipulated in the 2012 Elections Law and 2008 Elections Law, respectively.

Justice Saldi Isra, however, argued that there was no restriction for the court to change its stance, especially when the reversal was in line with efforts to protect the constitutional rights of voters.