Government confident on simultaneous 2020 elections

Public Discussion “Urgency to Realize Democratic Election and Quality: Challenges and Expectations” held at the Dharmawangsa Hotel, Jalan Brawijaya Raya, South Jakarta, Monday (03/0/2020). (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Simultaneous local elections that will take place in September 2020 are the main focus of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The elections will be held in 270 regions: 9 provinces, 224 districts, and 37 cities. Reflecting on the 2019 Election, the potential problems, of course, become the main concern. Fraud, logistical shortages, permanent voter list (DPT) problems, friction between candidate supporters, to fatalities resulting from a flawed system.

Minister of the Interior (Mendagri) Tito Karnavian explained the election is not the work of one committee only but rather an entire orchestra, where there are election organizers, candidates, elements of the central and regional governments, security forces, media, and public participation. “What makes us quite confident is that we have successfully carried out several local elections and even national elections, including the one in 2019. There are identity politics and others; thank God we can pass this,” Tito said in a Public Discussion “Urgency to Realize Democratic Election and Quality: Challenges and Expectations” at the Dharmawangsa Hotel, Jalan Brawijaya Raya, South Jakarta, Monday (03/0/2020).

According to Tito, his experience as the National Police Chief in 2016-2019 was quite helpful in terms of national security. However, Tito assumes a different role now serving as Minister of Home Affairs, where he must focused on managing voter data. “As the Chief of Police, the role is different. The Chief of Police is more focused on the issue of security. In the Ministry of Home Affairs I must first prepare voter data,” he said.

What’s more, Tito has the task of preparing a budget; he hopes that the regional budget for the elections will be disbursed soon. “We have the Civilian Registration (Dukcapil) Service and it is a database for voters. Second is the budget when the National Police Chief did not interfere. If now, I am pushing for the regions themselves to immediately disburse the budget. If (budget) is not available, the election organizer cannot implement its programs and it will get stuck,” he said.

Pilpres (presidential election), pileg (legislative election), and pilkada (regional heads election) are separated

The Constitutional Court (MK) recently decided at least six alternative simultaneous elections. First, the simultaneous general election to elect members of the Parliament (DPR), Senate (DPD), President / Vice President, and local legislative (DPRD) members. Second, the simultaneous general election to elect members of the DPR, DPD, President/Vice President, and regional heads (Governor, and Regent/Mayor). Third, the simultaneous general election to elect members of the DPR, DPD, President/Vice President, members of the DPRD, the Governor, and the Regent/Mayor.

Fourth, the national simultaneous general election to elect members of the DPR, DPD, President/Vice President and sometime afterward a simultaneous local general election was held to elect members of the Provincial DPRD, members of the Regency/City DPRD, the Governor, and the Regent/Mayor. Fifth, Simultaneous national elections to elect DPR, DPD, President/Vice-President members and after that simultaneous provincial elections to elect Provincial DPRD members and elect the governor; then, sometime afterward, a regency/city simultaneous general election to elect DPRD members and elect Regents and Mayors. Sixth, the Constitutional Court also allows other types of simultaneous elections to elect members of the DPR, DPD and President-Vice President, all held simultaneously.

Responding to the Constitutional Court’s decision, Tito said that discussions are being held related to the mechanism in conducting or implementing Pilkada, Pilpres, and Pileg, simultaneously. According to him, options related to the selection mechanism simultaneously are quite good. Even so, these options will later be discussed by members of the DPR. “If the six options are carried out simultaneously it is good enough, but look at the positives and negatives of each option. The principle is that whatever option is the best; everything will be discussed, we will provide the inputs, the DPR will later decide the law,” he said.

Although confident the implementation of the 2020 elections will run safely and peacefully, Tito himself is pessimistic that the 2024 election, namely the presidential election, legislative election (DPR, DPD, provincial/district/city DPRD) and regional elections (governors, mayors/regents), can be held simultaneously. He questiones the security aspect if the 2024 elections were held simultaneously at one time. “But in 2024, imagine that there are plans according to the rules, there are simultaneous local elections, president-vice president, legislature and all regions in Indonesia, level one and two. I cannot imagine … What about security, backups? If 270 (regions) only, we can still back up other regions, including backups by the armed forces,” he said.

Tito also has a solution by proposing that the presidential election, legislative and regional elections not be held simultaneously. He said the holding of the election needs a separation of time, so that later the presidential election, pileg, and regional elections which are not simultaneous can minimize the potential for conflict. “My solution is to prevent a conflict situation or a high-cost political situation. If there is a conflict, I think the solution should be a separation of time. It is very extreme if it is carried out simultaneously in 2024,” he said.

Besides, Tito also proposed to implement an e-voting system in the holding of elections. According to him, e-voting can save time and money. “Secondly, to reduce high costs, e-voting might be needed. So the cost is lower, the polling stations do not need to use ballots, no need to use ink. Because there is a fingerprint database, 98.8 percent of population data is already recorded in e-KTP (electronic ID),” he said.

Tito said the community must think of ways to reduce all negative impacts while maintaining the elections democratically, while still guaranteeing the people’s constitutional rights. One option is to improve its implementation. According to him, e-Voting has been implemented in several countries. What’s more, this electronic voting has even been applied in village head elections (pilkades) in Indonesia and was successful. This retired four-star police general stressed that the electronic ID (KTP) system in the Ministry of Home Affairs could reach 98 percent of Indonesians. Electronic ID card data accuracy system has also been double filtered, namely by identification of optical scanning and fingerprints, so the level of accuracy is very high, to prevent residents from having multiple ID cards.

With the support of this highly accurate population registration system, voter lists will be easier, but accurately integrated into the e-Voting system. Not only that: costs can also be reduced. “Through e-Voting, we no longer need to build hundreds of thousands of conventional polling stations, do not need ballot papers, all of which are very cost-effective. Certainly, the security of the E-Voting system data must continue to take precedence,” he said.

LIPI political observer Siti Zuhro welcomed the e-voting proposal. According to her, every system that is considered to be able to increase convenience and pay attention to Indonesia’s “uniqueness” is worth considering. The essence of the election, said Siti, is the effort to convert voters’ votes into electoral support for contestants or parties. If this meaning is adhered to, then all must be open to methods that guarantee efficiency and reduce the adverse effects that can undermine democracy itself. “Advances in technology, such as e-Voting can be adopted, because this does not reduce the constitutional rights of the community,” said Siti.

Many Notes
Meanwhile, the Director of the Election and Democracy Association (Perludem) Titi Anggraini hopes that the organizers of the elections can minimize disputes, starting with the nomination stage: if potential problems are not minimized from the start, problems will arise that even continue to have an impact on the sustainability of the next stage. According to her, the nomination dispute can be protracted, for example by questioning the fulfillment of candidate requirements. In the end, the General Election Commission (KPU) will be considered unprofessional if it does not anticipate this. “For example, in 2015, there were elections in several regions which were postponed, due to the prolonged lack of resolution of the nomination dispute,” she said.

Titi revealed several other potential vulnerabilities in the nomination stage which caused legal disputes and friction between supporters. For example, if there is a dualism of political party leadership when nominating cadres to become participants in the elections, so that the conditions will exert an impact on the potential for conflict between supporters. Not only that, according to Titi, at that stage, another potential problem that arises is related to the practice of centralizing the nomination. Please note that nominating recommendations are required to include recommendations from the Central Leadership Council (DPP) of the party. However, sometimes recommendations are not in line with regional aspirations. “Some crucial things during the nomination will have an impact on dissatisfaction about the results of the KPU verification in determining eligible participants. Instead of taking legal action related to dissatisfaction, it is even worse if channeled through ways that lead to violence,” she said.

Along a broader spectrum, problems that repeatedly arise in every election are matters of updating permanent voter data (DPT). According to Titi, this problem still occurs often, because pilkada participants or political parties are reluctant to oversee a DPT update. Then, another problem related to recapitulation is when the results of the vote at the polling station (TPS) are sent to a higher level. This is when it is vulnerable to manipulation and fraud. “For this reason, control over the professionalism or integrity of the organizer is very important. Internal supervision by the KPU and Election Overseeing Agency (Bawaslu) must be strengthened. Don’t wait for new problems to arise. Tiered control becomes very important,” he said.

Titi admitted there was still a lot of homework to do in the local election system in Indonesia. According to her, democratic elections should get leaders who fight for the interests of the people. “When we talk about democratic elections, the results also have meaning how voters can choose to be free from lies, how the products from the elections contribute to public services in the region, which is the homework we must finish,” she said.

Titi said that the regional head who was the result of the local elections already appeared in public. But to realize a democratic election, according to Titi, there are at least 4 aspects that must be considered. “Role models of the Pilkada products began to emerge, one by one. But indeed not all. To improve democratic elections we must look at 4 aspects,” she said.

According to Titi, the first point to consider is the law that guarantees an equal and fair election. She stressed the rules that prohibit money politics already exist, but in practice, there are still deviations. “First, the electoral rules, the rulemaking. How then can the legal framework contribute to ensuring equal and fair contestation? We still have problems. We have the motivation to improve integrity through banning money politics, when giving and receiving it both are subject to prosecution. But still, there is a problem in its implementation,” she said.

Next is the law must be applied consistently, as well as fair and non-selective enforcement of it. “Second is how we ensure that the implementation of legislative products is carried out consistently. Third, how electoral justice ensures fair law enforcement,” she said.

Titi said the last point was the holding of independent and professional elections. If these four points are met, democratic elections will be created. “Finally, the institutions for holding elections that are independent, impartial, professional and modern. These are the four pillars that we must fulfill in democratic elections,” she concluded. (Dan)