A voter walks on as his ballots are deposited into boxes by an election official in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia on April 17, 2019. (Photographer: Andri Tambunan/Bloomberg)

After Record One-Day Indonesia Election, Result Still Weeks Away

(Bloomberg) -- For a country that set a record in holding the world’s largest single-day election, the verdict on who emerged victorious from Indonesia’s mammoth exercise isn’t breaking any.

A delay in official results of the presidential election has led its two contenders to claim victory, deepening a divide among the electorate after a seven-month long polarizing campaign that centered on the economy and identity politics.

After Record One-Day Indonesia Election, Result Still Weeks Away

While about a dozen private pollsters called the election in favor of incumbent President Joko Widodo within hours of the end of voting on Wednesday, his challenger Prabowo Subianto disputed the outcome and declared himself the winner, citing his own team’s survey. Widodo, known as Jokowi, won by seven to 11 percentage points, unofficial polls showed.

The General Elections Commission may announce its own quick count result in the next few days, but the final results may not come until May 22.

Here are the steps involved as an estimated 155 million ballots are transported from more than 810,000 polling stations across the archipelago to the capital Jakarta, and counted before the May 22 announcement deadline.

  • Election authorities in each station fill up a so-called C 1 form with details of the votes polled and upload it to the central server of the election commission. That forms the basis for an official quick count that should be announced within three days to a week
  • The ballots are then moved to sub-districts by May 4, and to the cities by May 7
  • Paper ballots are subsequently transported to the provincial headquarters before May 12 and then to the national counting center in Jakarta
  • The Elections Commission must complete the manual count and announce results by May 22

Almost 81 percent of 193 million eligible voters participated in the first simultaneous presidential and legislative elections on April 17. The turnout was the highest since Indonesia -- the world’s fourth-most populous country and the largest Muslim-majority nation -- introduced direct presidential elections in 2004, official data show.

With Prabowo, as Subianto is commonly known, claiming about 62 percent of the national votes based on data from 340,000 stations, authorities will be under pressure to demonstrate that the post-vote process is transparent.

Voluntary groups and democracy activists are playing a role in ensuring the post-election process remains free of fraud. A crowd-sourced website known as KawalPemilu.org allows volunteers to upload results from polling stations to prevent any kind of manipulations.

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