December 5, 2023

Banten’s Local Election: An Evaluation

Voters turnout in Banten’s Provincial Election of 2017 has been increasing compared to previous provincial election, but it’s not quite high enough. Many voters find the local election in Banten uninteresting because the elected officials always come from a family of political dynasty. The Elections Commission (KPU) of Banten area should do something to improve public participation and voters turnout for Banten’s Regency/Municipality Elections in 2018.

“It will be a challenge for us to improve public participation in elections when the winners of the elections always come from the same political dynasty,” says the Chairperson of KPU of Banten, Agus Supriyatna, during an evaluation meeting in Serang, Banten (05/10).

A member of KPU of Banten, Enan Nadia, informed the detail of increase of voters participation in Banten’s Provincial Election of 2017. The rate of participation was 62.78%, slightly higher than the previous rate of participation at 62.38%. This slight increase should be considered as significant since Banten is the electoral area in the 2017 Local Elections which has the most eligible voters.

There were 7,732,644 eligible voters in Banten: 3,767,852 of them are female voters, while 3,842,485 are male voters. Total voters turnout was 4,871,461 voters. Total voters turnout for female voters was 2,509,630 while for male voters was 2,247,424 voters.

The Tangerang Municipality, which will be holding municipality election in 2018, was the electoral area with the highest voters turnout in 2017 provincial elections. There were 777,364 voters (69.3%) who voted during the election, out of 1,121,795 eligible voters.

Meanwhile, the Tangerang Regency was one of several areas with the lowest voters turnout in 2017 provincial election, with only 1,213,584 voters (60%) voted out of 2,023,648 eligible voters.

In 2018, there will be four areas that are going to hold local elections. They are the Tangerang Municipality, Tangerang Regency, Serang Municipality, and Lebak Regency. Voters turnout in Serang Municipality during the 2017 Provincial Elections was 292,690 voters (64.3%) out of 454,959 eligible voters. Meanwhile, the voters turnout in Lebal Regency is 604,530 voters (64.3%) out of 940,616 eligible voters.

“KPU should be able to optimize its functions in local elections. The challenge, however, is that each and every electoral area has its own unique character and problems,” says a member of KPU of Banten, Saeful Bahri.

A researcher from Krakatau Institute, Eko Kuswanto, confirms that the quality of candidates is still the main factor that could increase voters participation in elections. The more competent the candidates, the more attracted voters are to vote in elections.

“In Banten’s Provincial Elections, many people were disappointed because the candidates participating in elections are mostly come from political dynasty. Voters think that such politicians will not be able to change things for the better,” says a researcher, Prakasa Tubagus (05/10).

An activist from the Voters Education Network for the People (JPPR), Muhammad Hanif, says, the candidates in Banten’s Provincial Elections did not practice a proper political campaign activity and they did not approach the voters properly. Some candidates even commit bribes and other illicit money politics activities to gain votes.

“They blatantly commit money politics and there was no law enforcement. The authorities have no power over politicians’ money,” says Hanif.

The Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) makes seven recommendations to increase voters participation for the 2018 Local Elections. KPU in regency/municipalities should optimize the use of electoral campaign properties.

Also, KPU should also be able to optimize Democracy Volunteers (Relawan Demokrasi, Relasi) and increase its representation. Voters participation in the next local election can be increased if members of Democracy Volunteers come from various background, such as young voters, women, people with disability, cross-faith community, and so on.