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Jakarta Post

Voter safety a priority during 2020 elections, Jokowi says

  • Nina Loasana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, August 5, 2020   /   05:30 pm
Voter safety a priority during 2020 elections, Jokowi says An election official helps a voter with a disability during a simulation of the 2020 regional elections in the front yard of the General Elections Commission (KPU) on July 22. The KPU introduced COVID-19 health protocols for the voting simulation. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is urging all parties to prioritize the health and safety of voters and polling station officers in the upcoming 2020 regional elections in December amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He conveyed his concerns that the election would spawn new clusters of the coronavirus disease, as people would gather in polling stations on voting day.

“Health protocols should be implemented in every stage of the regional elections. We should have elections that are safe from COVID-19,” Jokowi said on Wednesday.

The President added he was optimistic the country could hold elections amid the pandemic just like other countries, such as Singapore, Germany, France and South Korea.

“The most important thing is to assure voters that the General Elections Commission [KPU] and the government are concerned about their health.”

Read also: Majority of public want regional elections delayed: Surveys

The strict health protocols, he added, would be enough to help voters feeling safe during voting day on Dec. 9, eventually leading to a high voter turnout.

Jokowi also said that the upcoming regional elections could be the perfect opportunity for innovation for democracy.

However, surveys indicate that most Indonesians, citing COVID-19 concerns, disagree with the government’s decision to hold the 2020 simultaneous regional elections in December.

Jakarta-based pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia found that 63 percent of 1,200 respondents preferred that voting day be postponed. Another survey held by pollster Charta Politika Indonesia found that many respondents also wanted a postponement of this year’s regional elections.

Some experts and activists are concerned about a low voter turnout in December, with the risk of contracting the coronavirus disease at polling stations potentially discouraging voters from participating in the elections.

The simultaneous elections seek to elect 270 leaders comprising nine governors, 224 regents and 37 majors across the archipelago.