This Is What the Experts Say About the Implementation of e-Technology for Indonesian Elections

Technology experts from the Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo), PT. INTI, the Body for Technology Review and Implementation (BPPT), and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) are present during a hearing session to discuss the content of the new Elections Law Bill at the House of Representative in South Jakarta (01/11). Three institutions, which are Kominfo, PT. INTI, and BPPT, assert that Indonesia is ready to partially implement e-technology in its elections. Meanhile, experts from ITB say the Government should be cautious and careful when implementing such technology.

Technology experts from Kominfo, BPPT, and PT. INTI say, in regards with infrastructure, many regional areas in Indonesia are ready to implement the e-technology. They say the e-voting technology will be used offline. All e-voting devices can be used using portable battery cartridge. If the battery gone low, the officer at the polling station can immediately replace the battery with the new ones.

“We (PT.INTI) are ready if the Government appointed us as the Enterprise that is responsible to procure and supply thee-voting devices. In regards with the infrastructure, Indonesia is ready to use the technology. Many underdeveloped areas which have no electricity can easily use the devices powered with portable battery cartridges, solar panel, or any other alternatives power sources,” says the President Director of PT. INTI, Tikno Sutisna.

Agreeing with PT. INTI, BPPT asserts that the cost of implementing e-technology in elections is significantly lower than manual method. The e-devices for elections can be used for five election periods, which means the cost will be 50 percent lower. In addition, the e-devices are easy to use so the Government does not have to worry that the voters would face difficulty in using the devices.

“We have conducted test runs in 526 villages. Everything runs smoothly without any hitch. The voters only need to to tap (the touchscreen) twice during the whole voting process. If the population in remote areas can use the device, I’m sure we will have no problem implementing it in big cities,” says the Chief of Electronic Elections System Program of BPPT, Andrari Grahitandaru.

Andrari then says that e-voting technology can prevent illegal voters and voters who vote at many polling centers in a day. During the voting day, voter only needs to bring their electronic-Residents Identity Card (e-KTP) and it will be scanned and verified by the verifier machine. One e-KTP can only be used at one polling station. This way, the technology can also prevent officer of the polling station to manipulate the list of voters.

“Fraudulent not only can happen during the vote counting process, but can also happen in the form of voters’ data manipulation. The use of e-KTP can prevent such manipulation,” says Andrari.

In response to the readiness of Kominfo, BPPT, and PT. INTI, experts from ITB warns the Government to always heed the four principles of election technology implementation, which are technology awareness, data awareness, human awareness, and organ awareness before implementing the election technology. The Government needs to build a strong public trust in order to guarantee the security of the data and the system.

However, most experts argue that the implementation of election technology for the upcoming 2019 National Concurrent Elections is highly feasible. The Government needs to appreciate BPPT’s effort to test-run e-voting technology in 526 villages. However, the Government should also guarantee that BPPT will install multi-layered security system, data consolidation to prevent any manipulation, storing the historical log of the device, and auditing process by independent firm.

“We basically support the implementation of election technology. However, we believe the implementation should be according to a detailed plan so that the implementation may bring prosperity to the public,” says the President of ITB, Kadarsah Suryadi.

During the hearing session, four political parties, which are Golkar, Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS), Indonesia Democracy Party-Stuggle (PDI-P), and People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), express their pessimism regarding the implementation of election technology. Meanwhile, other five parties, Democrat Party, Grand Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), Unity and Development Party (PPP), National Mandate Party (PAN), and National-Democracy Party (NasDem), express their optimism that election technology can be implemented gradually.