Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Only hours before voting begins in the Jakarta gubernatorial runoff, polling station officials yesterday were busily preparing for the election - locally dubbed a "democracy party".
Members of the Regional Election Organiser Committee (KPPS) of polling station (TPS) 28 in Palmerah, West Jakarta, Indonesia, began to set up desks, chairs and banners as office hours ended yesterday evening.
"We waited until all employees left the building and the parking lot were empty so that we wouldn't disturb them," said Dadang Iskandar, 49, who heads the polling station located in the Cahaya Palmerah office building's parking lot.
Iskandar said that he received ballot boxes and other logistics such as ink and voter lists from the Palmerah subdistrict office and would set them up at dawn on voting day.
In the neighbouring municipality, the Bungur subdistrict election committees in Senen, Central Jakarta, decided to wait until the eve of the voting day to distribute ballot boxes to polling stations.
"There are a number of local officials who have not checked whether the boxes are rigged or not. After all the boxes are checked, we'll start distributing them tonight," a member of the local committee, Abdul Hakim, said yesterday.
Some polling station officials in Bungur had begun setting up their tents on Tuesday and prepared special outfits for the big day.
"We have prepared matching batik shirts and caps for all the officials to wear tomorrow," Aliudin, the head of TPS 27 in Bungur, said as he displayed a neatly folded short-sleeved batik shirt and a black cap to The Jakarta Post.
The Jakarta branch of General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) said that all preparations Thursday's runoff had been completed, including the distribution of ballots.
Sumarno, KPU Jakarta's head for voting and vote counting, however, admitted that not all voting invitations had been delivered to eligible voters.
"Our officials are facing a number of troubles in the field. Many of them couldn't deliver the invitations to voters' respective address because there was no one home," Sumarno said at his office in Central Jakarta, adding that regulations stipulated that the invitation letters had to be delivered to voters directly by local polling officials.
There were also a number of cases where voters had moved but had failed to notify local neighbourhood officials.
"Those who relocated should fill out a form to be able to cast their vote near their new address. Without filling out the form, they can only vote at the polling stations near their old address," Sumarno said.
A total of more than 6.9 eligible voters are expected to cast their votes at 15,059 polling stations across the capital.
As the voting day has been declared a public holiday, many offices will be closed yesterday. However, banks, hospitals, the police's vehicle document service and public transportation will still run as usual.
More security personnel will be deployed for the runoff than during the first round. Police said that a total of 16,605 officers, including 2,200 military personnel, would be deployed to safeguard the election. The police already deployed 11,755 officers for a 100-day operation between Aug. 1 and Nov. 2. to maintain security prior to, during and after election day.
The city police and the Jakarta Public Order Agency, or Satpol PP, have conducted joint patrols around the capital to monitor campaign violations.
Polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the afternoon, poll officials will start counting votes at their respective stations and report the results to subdistrict officials.
Vote count recapitulation at the subdistrict level will be held between Friday and Sunday, at the district level on Monday and Tuesday, at the municipal level on Sept. 26 and 27 and finally at the provincial level on Sept. 29.
KPU Jakarta will name the winner of the election on Oct. 3.
Candidates will be given between Oct. 11 and 30 to file election-related lawsuits and complete hearings at the Constitutional Court.
KPU Jakarta will announce the final decision of the court and the new governor and deputy governor on Oct. 31 at the earliest or Nov. 2 at the latest.
During the first round on July 11, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo finished on top with 1,847,157 votes or 42.6 per cent of the 4,336,486 valid votes cast. Incumbent Fauzi Bowo came in second with 1,476,648 votes or 34.05 per cent of the vote.