Government Information Summary System malfunctions: 80% of Election summary performed manually

Election Supervisory Agency (“Bawaslu”) Mochammad Afifuddin released the results of 2020 Regional Election vote summary monitoring at District and Regency levels in Jakarta on Wednesday (16/12/2020). (Photo: BAWASLU RI)

IO – The Election Supervisory Agency (Badan Pengawas Pemilihan Umum – “Bawaslu”) reports that only 708 Districts or 20% of 3,629 Districts were able to summarize votes in the recent Regional Elections using the Government’s Information Summary System (Sistem Informasi Rekapitulasi – “Sirekap”), while the remaining 2,921 or 80% of the Districts still relied on the manual system. “This report is based on the monitoring performed by all staff in all voting spots. Therefore, most of vote summary in the 2020 Regional Elections was performed manually, not using Sirekap as planned,” admitted Bawaslu member Mochammad Afifuddin during a press conference at the Bawaslu Building, Jakarta, on Wednesday (16/12/2020). 

Afif stated that out of the 161 Regency/ Municipal KPUs that completed their summaries on the first day of the summary period, 15 December 2020, two of them, or about 1%, used Sirekap alone for their summarizing. 62 Regency/ Municipal KPUs or 32% combined Sirekap with a manual count, while the remaining 97 Regency/Municipal KPUs or 60% did a purely manual summary. “In conclusion, vote summarizing was generally performed manually. Even though this is a reference, we do need to take note of this when using the information in further summarizing of votes,” he said. 

The large incidence of manual summarizing has forced thousands of Staff Development Advisors (Pejabat Pembina Kepegawaian – “PPK”) in 159 regencies and municipalities to open up physical ballots for photo documentation of the C.Hasil-KWK forms, which is used to certify vote counts at voting sites. The data in this form is then inputted to the Sirekap app. “This physical opening of the ballots was done because there are no forms to refer to, while the physical C.Hasil-KWKs are stored in the ballots. Therefore, data documenting and input was performed manually, because staged data input through Sirekap could not be carried out as the Election Organizer Group (Kelompok Penyelenggara Pemungutan Suara – “KPPS”) level people lack copies,” Afif explained. 

He stated that after voting and vote count were completed on 10 December 2020, the PPK, on behalf of KPPS, input C.Hasil-KWK data into the Sirekap, in order to ensure that voting data from all voting sites would be 100% input into the app. However, PPK summarized the votes using Excel, which does not allow automatic formulation. Afif believes that this might cause errors to go undetected, especially in terms of paper voting. Therefore, KPU anticipated voting count discrepancies in summaries made using Sirekap manually. 

Potential for vote count differences may potentially occur at all summary levels, whether in Districts, Regencies or Municipalities, or Provinces. “Anticipation is important, as KPU has stated that the Sirekap app is meant to simplify KPU’s work and provide information transparency to the public. By using Sirekap, it is hoped that the people can monitor elections directly and need not wait as long. It is the very speed and accuracy of the process that cannot be entirely relied on, alas,” Afif said. 

Several irregular incidents occurred during close monitoring of summarizing at PPK level on 10-14 December 2020. For example, the PPK did not create work schedules according to Sub-Districts/Villages in 64 PPKs, performed summarizing in closed rooms in 324 PPKs, and recorded witness objections in 491 PPKs. Furthermore, 503 PPKs had to incorporate corrections from District Monitors, 313 PPKs had differences in vote counts during summarizing, and 353 PPKs saw differences between physical vote counts and summary form counts. Sirekap had errors in 1,370 PPKs, and could not be used at all in 972 PPKs. 

Afif compared this data with Bawaslu’s vote summarizing data, which uses data from the Electoral Monitoring Information System (Sistem Informasi Pengawasan Pemilihan Umum – “Siwaslu”). Siwaslu summarizes the events on Election Day as a quick portrait. Its results are documented as a comparison if there are differences in voting counts or if there is a voting count dispute to be resolved in the Constitution Court. 

The District Monitoring Committees in at least 153 regencies and municipalities used Siwaslu data when summarizing votes in the Districts. At the closing of Siwaslu after 24 hours, post-voting and vote counts showed that 256,139 out of the total 298,941 voting sites or 86% have had their monitoring reports input in the Bawaslu information system. “The inputted reports included a match of the actual execution to the set procedures, as well as the vote counts in the voting sites. 86% of this data was entered into the system within 24 hours after the voting and vote counts were formally completed,” he said. (dan)