The General Election Commission (KPU) says it will fulfill the rights of all to vote — including COVID-19 patients — with the highly controversial Dec. 9 regional elections fast approaching.
On Dec. 9, Indonesia is set to hold simultaneous regional elections in which nine provinces, 37 cities, and 224 regencies will be going to the polls.
Yesterday, KPU uploaded a post across its social media platforms announcing that they will proactively collect votes from COVID-19 patients, whether they’re in hospital quarantine or self-isolation. The policy fulfills article 72 of KPU Regulation No. 6/2020 on holding elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Halo #TemanPemilih, setiap suara sangat berarti. Prinsip ini jg yg melatarbelakangi KPU untuk memastikan hak pilih pasien Covid-19 dan rawat inap ttp dpt gunakan hak pilihnya di 9 Desember nanti. Petugas dan saksi datang menggunakan APD. Ingat 7 Hari Lagi ya.#KPUMelayani pic.twitter.com/zr4ynyGCQy
— KPU RI (@KPU_ID) December 2, 2020
Under the regulation, two election workers, dressed in full PPE, will go to the patients and collect the votes starting from noon on voting day. Data on COVID-19-diagnosed voters and vote collection permission must be obtained by respective regional governments and COVID-19 task forces.
“By principle, KPU is committed to serve,” KPU Commissioner I Dewa Kade Wiarsa Raka Sandi said today.
“What about patients in critical condition? We’ll see if it’s possible that they exercise their right to vote. We will facilitate as optimally as possible.”
The response to KPU’s post has been overwhelmingly negative, with many pointing out that it epitomizes the commission’s failure to prioritize health and safety over politics.
KPU and the government have come under fire for their decision to press ahead with the regional elections amid the ongoing pandemic. They cited constitutional rights as the main reason behind their rejection to delay the elections, and that they have instructed for health protocols to be observed at all polling stations.