Channel NewsAsia

Fraud allegations mar counting process in Indonesia presidential election

As results day of Indonesia's presidental election approaches on July 22, millions of used ballot cards have been tabulated across the archipelago. But reports of irregularities and tampering from the camps of both presidential candidates have marred the counting process.

DEPOK, West Java: As results day of Indonesia's presidental election approaches on July 22, millions of used ballot cards have been tabulated across the archipelago. According to a private tally by some groups, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo is leading the tally with 53 per cent of the vote, after 80 per cent of the count.

But as votes make their way from nearly half a million polling stations up to the General Elections Commission in the capital, reports of irregularities and tampering from the camps of both presidential candidates have marred the counting process.

In Depok, West Java, vote counting started at the sub-district level. This allowed for a more transparent process, and election officers and the public to start monitoring the count earlier.

Talim Haryanto, a Depok resident, said: "The tabulation process is transparent. At the polling stations, we were allowed to see the C1 tabulation form, and observe the recapitulation process at the sub-district, district and now the city level. So far I haven't seen any voting irregularities here."

In a polarised presidential election, citizens are stepping forward to closely monitor the vote counting process -- some guard counts at tabulation sites like this, while others scrutinise over tabulation forms uploaded to the general election commission website.

Citizens scour through vote tally documents uploaded online, and point out irregularities on social media like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

Supporters of both presidential candidates also supervise the collation of counted votes at each stage to prevent any rigging.

Titik Nurhayati, head of the Depok General Elections Commission, said: "After the recapitulation process here is over, we will sign the vote tally documents, and give a copy to the witnesses so they can keep the results and follow it through up to the national level."

Despite attempts to prevent vote tampering, irregularities have been discovered in several areas such as East Java, West Java and even outside the country, in Malaysia. In East Java, Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla had supposedly won zero votes in 17 polling stations, and the forms were not signed by any witnesses.

The Indonesian Election Monitoring Body and police have started investigations into cases of fraud.

Nelson Simanjuntak, a member of the General Election Monitoring Body, said: "The General Elections Commission oversaw the dismissal of election committee members who were found or suspected of vote tampering by the Election Committee Ethics Council."

Forty election committee members have received warnings, while 10 have been dismissed from their positions.

If found guilty, the accused could face up to five years in prison, and fined US$85,000.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia