Miscellaneous Using the Right to Vote Abroad
Why do overseas voters enter the Jakarta II Electoral District for the election of candidates for DPR RI members?
The following article was translated using both Microsoft Azure Open AI and Google Translation AI. The original article can be found in Serba-serbi Menggunakan Hak Pilih di Luar Negeri
About a month approaching the election on February 14 2024, conversations about the general election are not only widely discussed by people in Indonesia. Approximately 11,708 kilometers from Jakarta, conversations about the election adorn various spaces, such as in shops, coffee shops, and in offices in London, England. When meeting with fellow diaspora members, Indonesian citizens are now discussing elections, especially the presidential election.
"When meet Indonesian people, the question will definitely be 'eh, are you watching the debate or not?' So, indeed the election is a trending topic here too," said Windy Widodo (36), Indonesian citizen (WNI) living in London, when contacted from Jakarta, Tuesday (9/1/2024).
Another Indonesian citizen in London, Ruly Achdiat (52), said that Indonesian citizens' enthusiasm for the election began to grow since the London Election Committee Foreign Affairs (PPLN) carried out voter data matching and research, February 2023. The nuance of contestation was also felt when the volunteer nodes of the presidential and vice presidential candidates held meetings with a number of voters.
On several occasions, the presidential and vice presidential election campaign team from Jakarta also came to London to socialize their programs. Like welcoming distant family, the arrival of these "guests" from Jakarta was warmly welcomed by the diaspora to exchange news and ideas. "So far, the energy has been positive," said the man who works in the technology field.
For Ruly, exercising the right to vote abroad is not something he is doing for the first time. Since living abroad in 2006, he has already exercised his right to vote three times in two different countries. In the 2009 election, he voted in Singapore, while in the 2014 and 2019 elections, he exercised his right to vote in the United Kingdom.
"Election is not just a platform to exercise the right to vote. Election is also an opportunity for the diaspora community to gather and foster relationships with each other," he said.
Quoting the book Election Innovation: Overcoming Challenges, Taking Advantage of Opportunities published by KPU (2017), granting voting rights to Indonesian citizens living abroad has been carried out since the election was first held in Indonesia in 1955. Law Number 7 of 1953 concerning the Election of Constituent Members and People's Representative Members states that voter registration abroad is carried out by the Indonesian representative office.
In addition, Article 30 Paragraph 4 of Law 7/1953 also states that "Indonesian citizens residing abroad are considered residents of the electoral district where the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stands".
Also read: Tips to avoid losing your right to vote
Therefore, until 2024 Election, overseas voters will still choose two types of ballot papers, namely ballot papers for the election of president and vice president, as well as ballot papers for the election of members of the Regional People's Representative Council Election of DKI Jakarta II which includes Central Jakarta, South Jakarta and overseas.
"The symbolism of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office is located on Taman Pejambon Street, Central Jakarta, therefore the representation of voters outside the country is considered rational if it is represented by members of the House of Representatives from the electoral district where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office stands," said Chairman of the General Elections Commission (KPU) Hasyim Asy'ari.
In the 2024 election, there will be 1,750,474 registered voters living overseas. They will be able to exercise their right to vote through three methods: overseas polling stations (TPSLN), mobile polling booths (KSK), and mail-in ballots. There will be 807 TPSLN locations, 1,502 KSK locations, and 686 PPLN post offices to facilitate voting by Indonesian citizens living overseas.
Hasyim stated that the voting location should be under the jurisdiction of the Indonesian Government, located in representative offices such as the Indonesian Embassy, Consulate General, Indonesian Trade and Economic Office, or Indonesian schools abroad. However, limited locations make it impossible to serve all voters using the TPSLN method.
Moreover, Indonesian citizens residing abroad are scattered across various regions, with a considerable distance from their respective jurisdictions. While the work areas of some of the representatives of the Indonesian Foreign Service only cover a single country, some serve voters across up to four countries.
Therefore, there are three methods of selection provided to facilitate the use of voting rights for Indonesian citizens overseas. For voters who cannot be served using TPSLN, the KPU provides KSK and postal methods. The KSK method is used to serve Indonesian citizens who are in certain areas, while the postal method is used to serve voters, especially those who are located far from TPSLN and are not in certain areas.
“In principle, the KSK method or the postal method is a service provided to voters to make voting locations or facilities more accessible to them,” said Hasyim.
If voters within the country exercise their right to vote simultaneously on February 14th, voters outside the country can use their voting rights earlier. For those who use the postal method, they can directly exercise their voting rights after receiving the ballot paper. As for postal voters, their ballot papers have been sent to their respective addresses or to the addresses intended by the voters since January 2-11.
The implementation of voting using the TPSLN and KSK methods varies. Out of 128 representatives abroad, some held the election between February 5-14 in accordance with the local situation.
However, vote counting overseas will still be carried out simultaneously, which begins after polling in western parts of Indonesia ends. If vote counting is done earlier, it may impact the choices of voters domestically.
"Early voting is given because Indonesian citizens residing abroad have wide ranging accessibility, diverse locations, and distance from representative office centers scattered everywhere, therefore a relatively loose and longer time is given compared to voting time in Indonesia," said Hasyim.