The 2019 elections: It doesn’t get any worse than this

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Independent Observer

IO, Jakarta – 17 April 2019 was Indonesia’s fourth Presidential Elections to be held since the Reforms of 1998. This year, the once-in-5-years democratic process brought in Joko Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin versus Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno. Post-Election: many frauds. The National Committee to Elect Prabowo-Sandi (Badan Pemenangan Nasional Prabowo-Sandi – “BPN Prabowo-Sandi”) stated that structured, systematic and massive frauds have taken place. The Elections Monitoring Agency (Badan Pengawas Votersan Umum – “Bawaslu”) recorded that thousands of Election Organizer Groups (Kelompok Penyelenggara Pemungutan Votes – “KPPS”) in the Voting Points (Tempat Pemungutan Suara – “TPS”) 2019 Elections were not neutral. They mobilized people to vote for a specific candidate.

Bawaslu Commissioner Afifudin stated that KPPS are sworn to remain neutral and independent in performing their duties. However, “Elections Monitor discovered that the KPPS of 4,859 TPS that influenced people to vote for certain candidates,” said Afif in his office, Jakarta, on Wednesday (17/4/2019). He also said that Elections Monitor recorded that the KPPS in at least 860 TPS filled in unused voting forms. “The KPPS of 3,066 TPS decided to close down TPS before 13.00 local time, which is the stipulated closing time for voter registration,” he said.

Afif noted how voter mobilization was using their voting rights in a specific way in 436 TPS. There were also witnesses who used attributes or numbers 01 of Presidential candidate in 2,497 TPS. Furthermore, Bawaslu recorded total of 121,993 reports submitted on Elections problems and a total of 7,132 violations in the 2019 Elections, both relating to the Legislative Elections and Presidential Election 2019. Bawaslu Member Mochammad Afifuddin states that this total originates from Bawaslu’s findings and the people’s reports, up to 22 April 2019. “We have received 903 reports of suspicion of violation, 6,929 reports of suspicion, to a total of 7,132 registered complaints,” said Afif in his written statement made on Tuesday (23/4/2019).

Afif mentioned further details: 343 cases of criminal violation, 5,167 cases of administrative violation, 121 cases of code of conduct violations, and 696 of cases miscellaneous legal violations. Of these, 88 cases are still being reviewed, and 729 cases are declared to be non violations. East Java is the province with the highest number of violation findings, at 3,002, followed by South Sulawesi (772 findings), West Java (514 findings), Central Sulawesi (475 findings), and Central Java (399 findings). In terms of complaints from the people, West Java is the region most frequently reported at 117 reports, followed by South Sulawesi (115 reports), Aceh (95 reports), North Sumatra (73 reports), and Central Java (61 report). Afid said that in general, the violation was the involvement of State Civil Apparatus (Aparatus Sipil Negara – “ASN”), the military, and the police. The second-biggest violation is the involvement of the people who should not vote, such as children, in campaigns. There are also abuses of public officials’ authority that benefit candidates. “We already have 100 criminal judgements issued: 77 are finalized and 23 are still in hearing or appeals process,” he said.

Other than domestic incidents, there are also Election incidents abroad. Bawaslu considers the finding of pre-marked voting forms in Selangor, Malaysia to be part of a structured, systematic, and massive effort. “It is obviously structured, systematic, and massive,” said Bawaslu Commissioner Fritz Siregar. He further said that the finding of pre-marked voting forms proves that the Committee to Organize Elections Abroad (Panitia Pemilihan Umum Luar Negeri – “PPLN”) are incompetent in performing their duty. “It has been proven that PPLN did not perform its duties properly. We have already submitted our recommendations about PPLN’s doubtful performance,” he said.

Another thing of note in this Election is related to data input error. Social media is abuzz with the findings of erroneous inputs relating to the votes given to Presidential Candidate Pairs 01 and 02. The most notorious case is that of TPS 30 of Bojongsari Sub-district, Bojongsari District, Municipality of Depok, West Java. KPU Depok has inputted incorrect data due to human error. The data error in KPU.co.id website was found when Muhammad Haswan M Evandirita (@HaswanEvan) Tweeted that in TPS No. 30 Bojongsari, Depok West Java, Jokowi actually had 63 votes and Prabowo 148 votes, but the @KPU_ID account stated that Candidate 01 had 211 votes and 02 only 3 votes. KPU Depok Chairman Nana Sobarna admitted human error in the inputting of C1 data in TPS No. 30 into the Voting Count System (Sistem Perhitungan Suara – “Situng”) database. On behalf of Depok City KPU, Nana expressed his thanks and appreciation of the people’s participation in guarding the entire Election process.

Other than in TPS No. 30 Bojongsari, a fatal error of C1 data input into Situng KPU occurred in TPS No. 18, Malakasari Sub-district, Bale Endah District, Bandung Regency, West Java. The votes for Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin inputted to KPU was 553 votes, while Prabowo-Sandi’s votes are inputted as 30 votes. In this TPS, the recorded number of voters is 204 people, and only 186 of them made use of their voting rights. Photo scans of C1 forms show an entirely different story: in this TPS, Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin only obtained 53 votes, while Prabowo-Sandi obtained 130 votes. Therefore, when inputting data to KPU server, Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin gained an extra 500 votes and Prabowo-Sandi had a cut of 100 votes.

Suspicion of vote addition occurred again due to frauds discovered in TPS No. 4, Petak Kaja, Gianyar, Bali. Based on the data uploaded to its Situng database, KPU stated that Presidential Candidate Pair Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin had 1,833 votes, while their competitor, Presidential Candidate Pair Prabowo-Sandi only had 2 votes. Suspicion occurred when it was noted that the total number of valid votes was 185 and total invalid votes was 4, to make a total of 189 votes. C1 forms noted that Jokowi-Ma’ruf had 183 votes, and Prabowo-Sandi 2 votes. When compared with what is written in the KPU website, we note that Jokowi-Ma’ruf had 1,650 added to them. With such a large difference of votes between C1 forms with and the data inputted to Situng KPU, we need to ask, “Is this deliberate or only mere human error?”

KPU Commissioner Wahyu Setiawan, however, reiterates that the C1 data entry error into the Situng was purely human error. Entry errors did not occur only to the damage of Presidential Candidate 02, but also to Presidential Candidate 01.

Structured, Systematic, and Massive Frauds

Sudirman Said, BPN’s Director of Debate Material, view this Elections with mixed feeling. On one hand, we need to appreciate this super-colossal effort for the people’s interest, with some technical errors that occur here and there. On the other hand, “I am very concerned about the people’s feelings. There is an enthusiasm, a desire for change that arouse during the campaigns that are not reflected in the published count results. I feel that there is a serious link missing from the entire procedure. I am really concerned that the people’s disappointment will crystallize into explosive anger, something that none of us want in a normal situation,” he said.

Sudirman further stated that despite the tendency of certain parties to control mainstream media, the people also have their own media. From the people’s media or citizen journalism, we can have an idea just how massive the extent of violations and frauds is. The sense of being lied to, cheated on, treated unfairly is now uniformly found throughout the country. If the State Administrators fail to sense and resolve this feeling, it will result in a distrust time bomb for the Government in power.

We remember many things from the time of preparation for the 2019 Elections. There is the case of millions of doubtful names in the Permanent Voters’ List (Daftar Pemilih Tetap – “DPT”) that remain unresolved. Regional heads, district heads, and sub-district heads and village headmen were mobilized. Law enforcement officers were not neutral. Employees of State-owned Enterprises (Badan Usaha Milik Negara – “BUMN”) were mobilized as part of hidden campaigns. The State’s budget was used in a biased manner for the interest of electoral politics. Survey agencies are paid to direct people’s opinion. The incumbent Presidential Candidate took his leave manipulatively during campaigns, causing conflicts of interest throughout campaign period. Millions of voter invitations were not delivered. Thousands of KPPS officials were found to lack neutrality. Nowadays, many videos that prove the theft of votes from Presidential Candidate Pair 02 in many regions are widely circulated.

If we put all the above facts together, we cannot conceal the fact that systematic and massive injustice involving the structure has occurred. Unethical and illegal use the State’ structure of power is a crime against the State. It is a crime towards democracy that injure the people’s sovereignty. This is serious. BPN has discovered more than 1,200 frauds. This number will continue to increase day after day. The lack of law enforcement and organizer neutrality is the most obvious among these issues. The count may continue to change, but the important message is the suspicion of orchestrated violation and frauds using power structure.

Meanwhile, Said Didu,former Special Staff of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, stated that the extent of these frauds is the worst from the time we began having Elections. These frauds are structured, systematic, and massive, starting from the Election planning to the vote count. All of the Elections’ stages, from the determination of Temporary Voters’ List, the determination of Permanent Voters’, to the current vote count, have been defrauded systematically.

What we meant by “structured” is that the fraud is performed by organizations, agencies, or institutions with structure. This is obvious from the Ministry of Home Affair’s unreliable actions in determining the DPT, as well as KPU’s forgiving attitude towards DPT’s unreliability. We have clear evidence of vote mobilization, proof that many Ministries and State agencies are involved in hidden campaigns. For example, many spurious events were actually disguised campaigns. State officials, starting from governors, regents, district heads, sub-district heads and village headmen, and down to Community Association and Neighborhood Association heads, were found to have forced citizens to vote for a candidate.

Other agencies also performed structured activities. For example, several companies are known to force their employees to vote for one of the candidates. Many Election organizers, such as KPPS members, were also involved. Ministerial involves cases such as Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara having snapped at one of his staff who did not show support to the incumbent, “Who pays your wages anyways?” Companies, Government agencies, Election organizers, the Police, community organization, and community organizations have been making structured frauds.

What is meant by “systematic” is that the same methods are used to direct and threat voters to vote for a specific candidate. This pressure is usually given in levels, from top to bottom. “Massive” means that such fraudulent efforts occur in nearly all TPS, even those located abroad (e.g. the case of the pre-marked voting forms in Malaysia that involve the Committee for Elections Held Abroad (Panitia Pemilihan Umum Luar Negeri – “PPLN”)). In other words, it happens not only in specific regions.

Interestingly, the President, who should be responsible for ensuring that the Elections are held according to the principles of “LUBER” (Langsung, Umum, Bebas, dan Rahasia – Direct, Public, Free, and Confidential) and “JURDIL” (Jujur dan Adil – Fair and Honest) did not comment in the slightest to ensure that Elections would be performed LUBER and JURDIL. “He seemed to allow frauds to occur. For example, Jokowi did not comment at all when we submitted proof of police involvement to him,” Said Didu stated.

The frauds have started long before voting is performed. The fraud with the highest frequency is the involvement of law enforcement and government agencies who have failed to maintain neutrality. BUMN and the Police are most frequently found to have directed the people to vote for somebody specific instead of protecting their right to make their own votes. During voting proper, the most frequent case is to delete the people’s voting right. “As Bawaslu has said, 6.7 million voters did not get their voting invitations. The second most-frequent case is pre-marking of votes by Election organizers,” Said explained.

State Administration Expert Margarito Kamis confirms that massive frauds occur during this Election, starting from DPT issues to the fact that more than 6 million voters could not use their voting rights. This shows that the Elections do not satisfy the requirement of honesty and fairness. “Elections are constitutionally valid only if they are based on honesty and fairness,” said Margarito.

No matter how much one may want to gain power, there are always the principles of morality to guide us. After all, we are guided by the Constitution in our State Administration, and not by individual desires. Constitutionally, an elected president must have more than 50% of total votes, and the minimum number of votes gained must be 20% higher, and obtained from at least half the number of provinces in Indonesia. “This is what is called the NKRI rule. It is a rule Indonesia is proud of, the Indonesian integration rule. Otherwise, you need only secure victory from the majority of the population in Java, and it’s done. In other words, your votes would only secure you as the president of the Republic of Java,” said Margarito.

Bambang Widjojanto (BW), former Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – “KPK”) Chairman for the 2011-2015 period, said that the current Elections now are the worst post-Reforms Elections ever held, because the frauds have been performed extremely systematically. If we want to get a leader based on dishonesty, there is no need for us to do anything. The Elections parameter are dishonest and unfair. First, this is because our ASN lack neutrality. In the IMF meeting held in Indonesia, Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani and Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan used gestures that show their support of the incumbent. Jokowi also invited all Ministerial and regional government officials to discuss the results of development under his rule. That is a deliberate campaign. Furthermore, this is the first time a Presidential Candidate did not take any leave during the campaign process. Other than the lack of ASN neutrality, there are also letters from BUMN officials directing the mobilization of BUMN employee votes.

Second, the extent of money politics. Never before in the history of Indonesian law enforcement has there been an exposé of more than 400,000 envelopes used in bribes. In fact, lawyer Bowo Sidik said the true total is one million envelopes. These envelopes were to have been used in “dawn attacks” or election morning bribes. The money is obtained from corporations that have made agreements with a BUMN director and a Minister.

Never in our history have our corruption practice be exposed in such a manner. The previous viral scandal when Minister Luhut gave bribes to a kyai or religious elder in a certain religious boarding school. The key issue is that Luhut said something about “white clothing”. This vague statement may be interpreted as meaning one of two things: “vote for the person in white clothing”, or “go to TPS wearing white clothing to show support”. And that was one case that we have discovered, there are many that we have not discovered. Furthermore, isn’t this performed not only by Luhut? This crime really is the tip of the iceberg!

Third, Election errors may be caused by either carelessness or deliberate intent. In terms of the execution, Bawaslu has already stated most problems are related to logistics, notably the 6.7 million voting forms that have not been submitted to voters. “When I made my rounds to TPS that were summarizing vote count in districts, I found something interesting. The C1 forms, or the summary of the vote counts in TPS, must be placed on a notice board when filled. Failure to perform this requirement would mean a 1-year imprisonment or a fine of Rp 12 million. That ruling is in Article 391 in conjunction with Article 508 of Law No. 7 of 2017 concerning Elections. However, most TPS did not perform this rule, or they do not affix the forms on notice boards. Then how come the police needs to the unpublished C1 forms? They do not have the right to. This is a violation of Article 390 of Law No. 7 of 2017, which states that only three parties have the right to handle the forms: the witnesses, the monitoring committee, and District Election Organization Committee (Panitia Pemilihan Kecamatan – “PPK”). What is the Police’s purpose in seeking out this form? Another example is the case of pre-marked voting forms in Malaysia. We never heard of any follow-up to that case,” BW said.

The frauds are simply massive. Bawaslu report stated that money politics occurred not only in Jakarta, but in 12-13 other provinces as well. It is a structured and systematic fraud compounded with lack of ASN neutrality. “I found that the most frequent frauds are those relating to neutrality – starting from officials who misuse their authority, to the extensive misuse of APBN with the existence of various populist policies. These policies are actually nothing more than disguised public campaign, including a 5%-increase of Civil Servant salary, increase of temporary employee wages, and increased social aid,” BW said.

Fact-finding Team

According to Sudirman Said, a number of civil leaders and figures have started to voice their concerns of the existence of structured, systematic, and massive violation and frauds. These people suggested the establishment of Fact-finding Teams. “We of BPN highly support the notion. An independent and objective Fact-finding Team will unravel all suspicions and prejudice of frauds. We are ready to participate in a joint team that involve people with strong integrity and credibility if required. If necessary, we must open up before international observers in order to better guarantee the objectivity of fact-finding. The resolution of many problems is frequently facilitated by the presence of third parties. They might present solutions as mediators and communication bridges, as well as credible messengers,” Sudirman said.

Said Didu agreed that the massiveness of these frauds require the formation of Fact-finding Teams. “Because if this continues, I would consider that people who design their power based on frauds are preparing chairs to sit on and burning coals to be placed under the seat and burn themselves,” he said. When Fact-finding Teams found structured, systematic and massive frauds, re-election must be held. We can do this for the good because we still have funds, and only Presidential Re-election need to be performed. We should also summon foreign representatives or independent agencies as monitors.

BW reiterates that it is not about winning or losing. It is not about Jokowi vs. Prabowo, but because frauds as a form of dishonesty is working systematically. We cannot possibly vote for dishonest leaders. Then we must stake it all on the best thing we can do, among others forming an independent group that can clarify all incoming complaints. This is the context of independent fact-finders’ relevance. However, the team must be filled with professional members, for example public accountants for auditing, forensic experts, academicians, association members, etc. Whether we need to have a re-election or not must be based on the results of the Fact-finding Team’s clarification.

Quality of Elections

Sudirman stated that Presidential Candidate Pair 02 will continue to fight to protect their victory. However, what they really want is to maintain the quality of fair and honest Elections, as a Govern­ment formed by flawed Elections will be flawed as well. Such a large country must be managed by a reliable Government supported by all the people across the homeland. “We need leaders who can unite us, not divide us. Therefore, we are interested in the credibility and integrity of Elections results,” Sudirman explained.

The 2019 Elections gave us an important lesson. The power of money is highly dominant, and it is a great concern because it shows how fertile money politics have turned into killing field of good candidates – moral candidates who want to uphold their idealism. Quality candidates are frequently defeated by dirty competition and money politics, because they refuse to sacrifice their principles. In this situation, democracy’s purpose of creating prosperity and justice will be hard to achieve, because noble values have lost out to pragmatism. Perhaps it is time for us to reconsider the future of our electoral system?

It is true that this is the first Simultaneous Elections, both Legislative and Presidential, in an open and proportional multi-party system. We elect names from hundreds of thousands of candidates. It is highly complex. But if only technical errors occur and the level of the people’s trust in their Government is high, the people will understand these technical errors. However, an atmosphere of fraud has been built since the preparation stage. Therefore, each new technical error simply thickens the perception of fraud among the people. I really do respect my friends among the organizers who maintain their neutrality and honesty. However, if there is a big design of frauds performed by Governmental structure, it seems that the Elections’ technical organizers would not be able to do much.

Data input errors have occurred repeatedly, and Presidential Candidate Pair found their votes to be diminished and themselves injured. This is a naked error that is widely distributed to the people. The question is, “Is this purely human error? How come it happens repeatedly with the same pattern? With the current circumstances, we must keep watch of all developments. “I am still unable to make any conclusions yet. However, we can sense the mood of the people, and what we sense is the voices of the people who are disappointed and angry from being cheated. The people’s sovereignty is currently under pressure, and the conflict here is between people who want change and law enforcement. It is as if having difference with the Government is a crime now. Some of our media friends who tried to act independent and fair even said, “We want to be objective, but it seems that being objective is a crime nowadays.” This is a great concern,” said Sudirman.

Said Didu admitted that the people’s trust in the Elections is low. The 2019 Elections is different from the 2014 Elections. In 2014, the people supported Prabowo to become president. Now, they want to replace the President, making them participate greatly in the process. This is not Prabowo’ flow, but the people’s flow and Prabowo is in this flow. Prabowo is no longer the mainstream, unlike in the 2014 Elections.

Multiple data input errors that damage Candidate 02 is absolutely illogical. When Elections are LUBER and JURDIL, then all systems should also be LUBER and JURDIL. In the current condition, the Govern­ment threaten the people for every little thing. The leader elected on fraudulent basis is now the coal under the Government’s seat. BW stated that nearly all pre-marked votes in Presidential Election benefit Candidate 01. Based on findings in the field, there are votes that should have been called out but wasn’t –for example, only 4 out of 14 votes for Candidate 02 was called out in one TPS. The data held by witnesses and the one checked by KPPS is different from each other. Therefore, our common sense now asks, “This works out for whose interest then?”

“I saw this kind of thing myself in PPKs. There is also a suspicion that not all parties have witnesses in TPS. Therefore, when we summarize vote count at PPK, we do not have data to confirm PPK’s processes. However, Candidate 02’s supporters, under the auspices of PKS, have amazing data: they have not only C1 Forms, but an actual system. In nearly all counting processes in the PPK, only two parties use computers: PPK and PKS officials. This is why Candidate 02 has the courage to announce their victory. Now let’s just challenge the other Candidate, show us the information system relating to C1 Forms,” BW said.

The People’s Sovereignty at Stake

Sudirman believes that the people’s sovereignty in the 2019 Elections is strongly pressured. “We need to fight to uphold it. Only Elections trusted by the people would be able to generate trustworthy Government. I do not imagine any Government who enforce its desire to remain in power to earn the people’s respect,” he said.

Said Didu stated that our democracy is no longer at the crossroads under the circumstances, but it is being destroyed because the principles of democracy are discarded. The people’s freedom, the neutrality of officials and law enforcement are all destroyed. The entire process is the destruction of democracy. If it goes on, we will lose our democracy and generate a leader who gets away with votes the people.

The 2019 Elections was a total mess, because the people in charge of organizing the Elections do not entirely want to realize LUBER and JURDIL Elections: they have vested interest. KPU is also highly dependent on Government officials, such as regents and governors. When everyone lost their neutrality, everything would be complicated. The Elections are designed not to be either LUBER nor JURDIL.

Margarito admits that Indonesia’s democracy is at the crossroads. Therefore, we need new leaders with the capability and heart required to return Indonesia’s stature as a strong nation. Now, the people have voted, this is related to their dignity. We need to maintain this by helping to ensure that the people’s votes do not get manipulated. “We need to keep on hoping for the best for Indonesia. The process is not finished, the struggle is not over. Let us jointly ensure that our Elections are fair and honest,” Margarito said. He further expressed his hopes that all elements of society concentrate on the vote count. “Let us not be weak in our monitoring of the vote count.”

Amid massive frauds, BW noted something interesting: the people are really massive when they move. They enthusiastically monitor the electoral processes. “I noted the strategic role of March of the household moms (Barisan emak-emak). There were even 30 of these ladies standing guard at a TPS in East Bekasi. Democracy is saved by these household mothers, and they fully realize that their future is determined by our success in voting for our leaders,” he said.

Our democracy is at a cliff’s edge if we continue to allow frauds to happen. More horribly, we legitimize these frauds by making it seem that Elections are over and the losers must just accept the fact. But the issue is not one of victory or defeat: the issue is that we are maintaining our honesty as a basic value. Otherwise, we would vote for dishonest leaders, and these leaders would definitely not be able to develop the nation.

Our elections are simply a mess. It is only during the Simultaneous Elections many officials died from exhaustion and overwork, from concentrating too much in Presidential Election instead of in Legislative Elections. There was not much information dissemination from either Legislative Candidates or political parties, as everyone focuses on Presidential Election. The length and complexity of the process, as well as the limited number of available witnesses, reduces the quality of the Elections. This is compounded with the problem of repeated hacks during the Presidential Election vote count. The public now questions the accountability of KPU’s IT system, as we never know what audits have been performed on it.

“KPU repeatedly said that it wants to maintain the accountability of the 2019 Elections process, among others by inviting the public to participate. One way of public participation is to allow them to watch vote counting in real time. However, the public in several districts cannot get this access: only witnesses are allowed due to limited facility (or so they say). Several ladies’ groups cannot enter because of insufficient space. If KPU wanted public participation from the start, they should have prepared the space. If necessary, we should open the C1 Forms that KPU has in order for us to count together. But the data is previously tested in all districts,” BW said. (Dessy Aipipidely, Ekawati