27k sign petition to re-hold overseas voting in Sydney after hundreds allegedly denied chance to vote

Hundreds of Indonesians lined up in Sydney were reportedly unable to vote after the polls were closed at 6pm. Photo: Change.org

Indonesia’s general elections are this Wednesday but millions of Indonesians living overseas had their chance to vote over the weekend at polling booths set up across the planet. However, the high level of voter turnout in some areas (record high in some places like Tokyo) also caused extensive delays that reportedly prevented some from voting and, in at least one area, has sparked demand for a re-vote.

The reports suggest that many of the problems were caused by the unexpectedly high turnout of overseas voters, particularly Indonesian citizens who had not already pre-registered to vote and thus required much more processing time.

That seems to have been the main cause of problems in Sydney, Australia, where hundreds of Indonesian citizens are reportedly protesting to the city’s branch of the Overseas Election Committee (PPLN) over their decision to close the polls at exactly 6pm. According to a Change.org petition demanding a revote for Indonesians in Sydney (which has already been signed by over 27,000 people as of the time of writing) PPLN closed voting at 6pm despite the fact that hundreds of citizens were still in line waiting to cast their votes, some of whom had already been waiting for 2 hours.

A member of the Sydney PPLN Secretariat, Hermanus, said that the people waiting in line at the time the polls closed were only those who had not previously registered to vote and thus did not have the same guarantee to a vote. He defended closing the ballot box at 6pm as being in accordance with the rules of the General Election Commission (KPU).

The KPU backed up the Sydney PPLN, agreeing that they had acted in accordance with the rules, but also said that the  Election Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) would investigate the complaints with the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) would investigate any potential violations and make their recommendations to KPU to rectify them if needed.

In another overseas election scandal, last week bags filled with tens of thousands of ballots that had allegedly been tampered with to indicate votes for President Joko Wdodo and a NasDem party candidate were found in Selangor, Malaysia. The KPU says it is still investigating the case but that they would release their findings before the election.


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