On Sunday, March 12th 2017, there was village election in Babakan Village, Ciseeng Sub-District, Bogor Regency. The election was held with only in location on an open field at Babakan Wetan Street. There are 10.374 registered voters.
Other than Babakan Village, there were actually 35 other villages that held village election. However, only village election in Babakan that implements electronic voting or e-voting technology.
During interview, the Chief of Ciseeng Sub-district, Eddy Muslihat, says that he, like many other sub-district chiefs, submitted a proposal to the Office for Empowering Sub-district (DPK)to implement e-voting in village elections. After som econsideration, it was decided that e-voting will be implemented in Babakan Village.
Eddy also says that, initially, the village election was going to be held at local Sport Center. However, upon request from the candidates of the election, Eddy decided to hold the election on an open field.
“Running an election on an open field is more expensive because we need to rent some tents and other miscellaneous props. If we held it at the Sport Center, we only need to pay fifteen million rupiahs to rent the whole place,” says Eddy.
Village election in Babakan Village costs around 150 million rupiahs, which is equal to around fifteen thousand rupiahs for every voter. The election officials employed 8 Anti-Riot Corps, police officers from 10 different sectors, 20 civilian defense officers, 12 security officers from the Ciseeng Sub-district administrative office, and 4 batch of other security officers for the village election.
Technical Aspects of e-Voting
In Babakan’s village election, there are three polling stations (TPS) in one polling location. Every TPS contains five voting booth. At TPS A the voting booths are colored green, at TPS B are red, and at TPS C are yellow. Every voter should cast their ballot at voting booth in accordance with the color of the letter of voting invitation he or she accepted earlier.
The election was run by a total of twenty members of election official. One member acted as a director, twelve officials acted as verification officers, six members worked as e-voting assistants, and one member was handling the ink for marking the voter who has cast their ballot. Most election officials are the residents of Babakan Village who work as teachers at local schools. The election officials are selected and hired by the official at the Office for Village Empowerment (BPD).
“This is the first time for Babakan Village to hold an election with e-voting technology. It feels like an election in Los Angeles,” says an election official who provided the opening speech.
The election official then explained the voting process using e-voting machine. Firstly, every voter who has received voting invitation shall wait at the waiting section according to the color of the invitation.
Secondly, voters proceed to conduct identity verification using the electronic Resident Identity Card (e-KTP) and receive an e-voting card to use the e-voting machine. The verification machine will not only match the voter’s data with the one on the Voters Registry (DPT), but will also automatically mark every verified voter to prevent any fraud of multiple voting.
Thirdly, voter enter the voting booth and enter the e-voting card into the e-voting machine. The voter then will be provided with option of candidates to choose from, and he or she only needs to tap on the candidate he/she would like to choose.
Fourthly, the voter shall put the paper trail (voting receipt) he/she receives after using the e-voting machine into the audit box. The audit box will never be opened unless there is a dispute regarding the result of election. Subsequently, voter then dip his/her finger into a bottle of ink as a token of his/her participation in the election.
During the election, election officials keep informing the voters on how to use the e-voting. “Do not forget, sir, madam, tap on the (candidate’s) picture, then tap the green button to confirm,” says an election official.
The whole voting process finished at 4 o’clock. Election officials then counted the vote and manually recapitulated them.
The recapitulation process only took thirty minutes. At the end, candidate number 1, Apendi, wins the Village Election of Babakan with 4.175 votes. Apendi is the incumbent candidate in Babakan Village.
Technical Problems During the Election
The computer used at Polling Station A erred four times during the election. The electric generator set at Polling Station B shut down a few times. There was a voter who voted twice, causing the e-voting machine to crash. There were also voters who try to register twice at the voter verification table, causing the computer for e-verification to crash.
“Please, do not vote or register yourself twice because it can cause technical difficulty,” says an election official.
During midday, many voters experienced difficulty in using the e-voting machine. “I have asked the election official on what to do next. I have tap my favorite candidate as instructed, but the confirmation box did not show up,” says Nani (45), a voter, to Rumah Pemilu.
Voters had been queuing since 8 o’clock in the morning at the polling stations. The queue did not die down until the polling station are closed at fifteen past three in the afternoon.
When Rumah Pemilu interviewed several voters regarding their experience in using e-voting machine, most of them said that they have no difficulty in using the machine. Nasarudin (72) says that he did not experience any difficulty because he had already using the e-voting machine during technical meeting. “It’s easy to use. E-voting is much better than regular voting,” says Nasarudin.
Iqbal Moris (29) says the same thing. According to Iqbal, e-voting is better than regular voting because it can reduce fraud and error during election. In addition, with e-voting there will be no invalid vote.
Rofidah (60) does not agree. Rofidah prefer manual voting, even though she admits that e-voting makes voting process easier. Rofidah did not attend election technical meeting.
Out of the total of 10.374 registered voters, there were 7.053 voters or 68 percent who voted. Election officials hope that the long queue time to vote will not discourage people to participate in election with e-voting technology. During the election, many voters decided to return home because of the long queue.
What Need to be Improved
There are four things that need to be changes and improved by the election officials. Firstly, the election officials need to locate the paper trail printer inside the voting booth. This is to prevent any election official to see the paper trail and to maintain secrecy of the election.
Secondly, election official should not assist confused voter by entering the voting booth. According to a researcher from the Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem), Sebastian Vishnu, the fact that there are many disoriented voters during the voting process shows that the election officials have not properly disseminate and demonstrate how to vote using e-voting machine during technical meeting.
Thirdly, election official should have provided more voting booth to reduce the long queue. In the election, the election officials only provided fifteen voting booth for 10.374 registered voters, which is equal to 691 voters per voting booth. This is clearly not enough.
Fourthly, the election officials need to improve the quality of the e-voting machine. The machine used in the election often crashed or erred whenever there is a voter mistakenly try to vote twice. The machines were also not very responsive and slow.