July 18, 2024

2024 Elections: Special Approach Needed for Elderly Voters

The elderly often face physical limitations, limited access, and a lack of services during the election process. To fulfill the voting rights of the elderly in the upcoming 2024 Elections, a special approach is needed throughout the electoral process, including the implementation of the election at the Polling Stations (Tempat Pemungutan Suara or TPS). This is particularly important concerning the accessibility and socialization of the election.”

“Elderly citizens are a special group, so if electoral information is primarily disseminated through social media, it can be ensured that many elderly individuals won’t receive it. This is because the elderly tend to avoid internet communication, with only 19.4% of them being users,” said Lili Indrawati, Deputy Director of Indonesia Ramah Lansia Jakarta, in an online discussion on KBR Public Space titled ‘Menciptakan Pemilu 2024 yang Ramah Lansia [Creating an Elderly-Friendly 2024 Elections]’ on January 10th.

In addition to technological challenges, public outreach is also considered less effective because, according to her, the elderly tend to reduce social activities. According to Lili, a special approach is needed that involves elderly companions to conduct political education and encourage the elderly to exercise their voting rights.

“We do collaborate with the Health Department; in every district or sub-district, there are elderly integrated health posts (Posyandu Lansia) to provide training for companions. The training focuses on how to assist, serve, and empower the elderly. In terms of elections, the training covers how the elderly can participate in the electoral process,” she added.

In June 2023, the General Election Commission (KPU) has officially designated the Permanent Voter List (Daftar Pemilih Tetap or DPT) for the 2024 Elections with a total of 204.8 million voters. The Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik or BPS) projects that elderly voters will reach 32 million people or 16% of the DPT. With such a significant number, it is deemed crucial to create an elderly-friendly election.

Lili explained that the facilities for the elderly during voting can be categorized based on the elderly’s ability to perform daily activities. Through this, the elderly can be classified as independent or having mild, moderate, severe, and total dependence. According to her, independent to moderate elderly individuals can vote directly at the TPS. Meanwhile, those with a high level of dependence and total dependence should be provided with mobile TPS.

“I hope for cooperation from all parties to ensure the success of the elections and long-term care for the elderly. Through this, I hope that the elderly can participate in an honest and fair election,” expressed Lili.

Meanwhile, Jakarta KPU Commissioner, Astri Megatari, stated that the commitment of the KPU is to prioritize vulnerable voters and persons with disabilities. Therefore, this should be implemented down to the lowest level of election organizers. According to her, the standards for serving elderly voters are already included in the material for the Polling Station Officers (Kelompok Penyelenggara Pemungutan Suara or KPPS) Technical Guidance.”

“If there is no companion accompanying the [elderly] voter, our KPPS officers have also been prepared to accompany them, of course, by signing a statement to maintain the confidentiality of the voter,” explained Astri.

According to Astri, the spirit of the 2024 Elections is an inclusive election, designed so that every citizen has an equal opportunity to participate. This equality encompasses the recognition and protection of the political rights of citizens without any specific discrimination.

“So through this, hopefully, it can bring a collective spirit, and the election can become a means of national integration,” she hoped. []

Translated by Catherine Natalia