Election 2018: Bali polling station adopts ‘World Cup’ theme in hopes of boosting voter turnout

Desa Adat Sempidi, Mengwi went for a World Cup theme at their polling station. Photo via Info Badung

A polling station in Bali is looking to harness World Cup fever and use football fans’ fervor to get them to the ballot box.

The timing is perfect, that the regional election lines up with the 2018 World Cup, says Gusti Ngurah Martana, chairman of the voting organizing group of polling station 5, Banjar Ubung.

Balinese are taking to the polls on Wednesday to pick their candidate, Wayan Koster or Rai Mantra for governor of the island province, to take office for a five-year term and replace the long reigning I Made Mangku Pastika.

The polling station in the traditional Balinese village of Sempidi, Mengwi, located at Banjar Ubung has gone into full decoration mode, setting up painted soccer balls and flags of participating countries in the football tournament. Election officials have also come wearing traditional Balinese clothing, but have swapped out their customary tops for football jerseys.

“We make sure they are wearing jerseys, but combined with Balinese clothes, udeng Bali and kamen,” Martana said on Tuesday, as quoted by Detik.

“We wanted to create a unique, interesting, and attractive (environment) so that people will come in droves to the polling station,” he explained.

All this World Cup decor will hopefully attract more voters, not only so they can vote but also add some fun so they can come and discuss the teams they’re supporting, Martana said.

“I think this will also reduce the amount of voter apathy.”

According to Martana, decorations for the polling station ended up running IDR3 million (US$211), a bit above the budget allocated by the government, so the local banjar (Balinese traditional community) subsidized the rest.

“We are inspired by what is happening in the world, we have World Cup fever, an event which happens every four years, that (Wednesday) will line up with our election,” Martana added.

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