How many eligible voters are there in Jakarta? This question is at the heart of a debate among the candidates running for the upcoming gubernatorial elections, and it is critical to the credibility of the elections.
On Saturday, the Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPUD) announced that there were 6.98 million eligible voters spread throughout 15,000 polling stations within the capital.
This figure is contested by five of the six candidates, who claim the figure should be much less.
They have based their objections on numbers provided by the Home Affairs Ministry, which recently stated that it would issue 5.6 million electronic ID cards for the capital. Only holders of Jakarta identity cards aged 17 or older, who do not ha v e criminal records or are married are allowed to vote.
The discrepancy between the two numbers must be resolved prior to the election to ensure that the vote is legitimate. If the public perceives that there is some attempt to play with the numbers, it will not only undermine the gubernatorial elections but our whole democracy.
Polling watchdogs have attributed the discrepancy to “ghost voters,” people who do not exist or are ineligible to vote, while the KPUD has claimed it is a clerical error in data entry. It is critical that there is no room for questions to be raised.
The KPUD and the Home Affairs Ministry must work together until their numbers match so both the candidates and the public can have confidence that the elections will be held with full transparency and in accordance with the law.
This will ensure that whichever candidate comes out the victor will represent the people of Jakarta and thus have the mandate to govern with full authority. If the outcome of the elections is contested because of the discrepancy in the voter list, it is the people who will suffer.