This article is an English version of Indonesian article titled “Catatan Kaki Pemilu Kali Ini ” that was published at April 12th, 2014.
Since three days before the election, the atmosphere had been different. In the houses, rice stalls, places to hang out, even in the kitchen people had been busy talking about this election. The discussions had been various too. From supporting what party, who was the candidate, how to vote, to what would we get if we voted for A, B, C and so on. The issue had also developed. There had been many things that had ruined the image of democracy, such as, a candidate who had handed out gen-set, water machine and cash.
The day before the election, my family and I had talked about this Legislative Election, considering the candidate who would be voted for. My family was a law-abiding family. They agreed to not waste this opportunity to vote for candidates who would bring the fresh air of changes in North Lombok.
My cousin, Ilham, said that he would vote for the candidate who had given his club the football jerseys.
“The important thing now is what would we get? If we vote for A, we’re not sure we could get something. It’d be better to vote for B who has already given the football jerseys to our club. Even though, when he is in the office, we won’t get anything either. But it’s better than get nothing, right?” he explained to us.
Indeed, there were many tricks done by the candidates to entice people. The popular one was to distribute costumes to the football clubs. Well, hopefully what they had given was sincere, solely for the benefit of people.
Granted, it couldn’t be denied that in the field, according to the testimonies of some of my friends there were many candidates who played dirty, especially the night before the election, so that it broke the prediction of the vote. The people who would vote for H initially without money, for instance, had changed their vote to S, who would give them cash, although it was only 100,000 IDR.
My friend, Hamdun, who was a member of a successful team of a candidate, was concerned. How could he not? He who moved without financial support was forced to rack his brain because of that money politic practice. Well, the candidates who played this money politic were the ones who would become representatives with lack of respect in a history of Indonesia.
“Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu! Through this opportunity, we announce to all the congregations of Ass-Shiratal Mustaqiem Mosque, Karang Subagan, to be present at the Polling Station (TPS – Tempat Pemungutan Suara) to do the election of legislative members together…”
The appeal that was heard from the mosque’s loudspeaker woke me up on 9 April, 2014. Today, in all regions of Indonesia, the legislative election was held, from Regional Representative Council Level II (DPRD Kabupaten) to People’s Representative Council (DPR RI). This appeal wasn’t just an invitation for the residents to just vote, but also for the residents to use their vote correctly. Voting for the candidates who were able to bring and deliver people’s aspiration in the future.
The congregation of Ass-Shiratal Mustaqiem Mosque consisted of two villages: Karang Subagan Village and Karang Bedil Village. From these villages there were six legislative candidates who joined this legislative election. At the last election, there had been only three candidates. According to Herman Zohdi S. Pdl, Head of PPK of Pemenang District, the increasing number of the candidates indicated the increasing awareness of democracy and the quality of human resources. The harder the competency showed the progress of a region. His opinion could be justified, but in reality, there was confusion among residents to vote. I heard this confusion a lot from the residents.
“Want to vote for A, don’t feel comfortable because B is a neighbor. Want to vote for B, don’t feel comfortable because C is a friend. Want to vote for C, D is a cousin…”
In fact, in my neighbor’s family, there were three candidates in the same electoral district and fought for the same seat, which was Regional Representative Council Level II.
Meanwhile, in my village there were two TPSs: TPS 20 which was located in an auto repair workshop and TPS 21 which was located in Sekolah Dasar Negeri 7 Pemenang building.
The confusion I mentioned earlier didn’t stop there. At 8 o’clock in the morning, when I arrived at TPS 20 to cast a vote, some residents were busy talking about the voting procedure and candidates they would vote for. They gathered in front of the information board to examine their champions, recognizing their faces and making sure that they didn’t choose the wrong person and number. This opportunity didn’t go wasted by some successful teams. Some people of one of the candidate’s team were seen trying to persuade the residents, directing the residents to vote for their candidate. Even my brother, Gozali, was approached by a person from a candidate’s team and he whispered to my brother, “See what happens if you don’t vote for ‘this person’!”
It was not just that. According to a witness from one of the parties, since this TPS 20 had been opened, a few frauds had started to appear. I didn’t know for sure about the kind of the fraud because he chose not to tell me. However, when I waited for my turn, some things unethical were apparent. For example, some people who were not the officials or the residents who were called to vote, were within the voting area. This could have negative impacts, because there was a possibility that one of the candidate’s team could influence the people who were going to vote.
Everyone hoped to win, indeed, but of course what should be expected was winning with good and honored way, not with cheating. If in every election this thing happened then we would never grow up in doing democracy.
After voting, I went back home. I was hungry because I hadn’t had breakfast before I left to vote. After having breakfast, I decided to visit my neighbor who happened to run for the legislative office. I wanted to know the latest news about the election in my area. At his place, I met some members of his team, one of them was SG. He was a tour guide at Bangsal Harbor.
The morning after voting, he had gone to Bangsal Harbor, but there was no boat operated. A few tourists who asked for his service to provide the facility to go to Gili Trawangan couldn’t be fulfilled by him. Seeing this condition, he decided to observe some TPSs, and finally went to the candidate’s house to just report the latest news.
He also expressed his frustration regarding the implementation of the voting at TPS 20. He chose to be silent and do nothing for the reason that he didn’t want the unwelcome things happened.
“If you wanted to search for trouble, that was easy, but why should we do that?” he said.
I agreed with him, because there was the institution that had more right and duty to secure the voting process, namely the North Lombok Regency Supervisory Committee for the Election (Panwaslu – Panitia Pengawas Pemilu).
The vote count started according to schedule from the TPS 20 Polling Station Officers (PPS – Panitia Pemungutan Suara) which was at 2 PM. The count started with DPD, then DPR RI, Regional Representative Council Level I (DPRD Provinsi) and Regional Representative Council Level II (DPRD Kabupaten). For Regional Representative Council Level II, TPS 20 was a part of Electoral District (Dapil – Daerah Pemilihan) I, which consisted of Pemenang District and Tanjung District. Meanwhile, for Regional Representative Council Level I, it was a part of West and North Lombok Electoral District. During the vote count, the residents’ enthusiasm was obvious. All chairs provided by the committee were occupied. People who didn’t get the seat were welcome to stand, leaning on the workshop’s building post.
The atmosphere was getting hot when the officers got ready to read aloud the vote result of Regional Representative Council Level II (DPRD Kabupaten). Six candidates from my village would soon know how many votes they got. However, none of the six candidates were present at TPS 20. There were only their family, witnesses, successful team and their supporters.
One by one the ballot paper was opened and read aloud by the head of PPS. The audiences seemed tense. The anxious faces of the candidates’ families were visible. The witnesses were busy writing. There were witnesses who smiled sheepishly because their candidates had not been mentioned yet. The candidates’ supporters started to shout and pray, hoping their candidates got the most votes.
I couldn’t hold back the curiosity and decided to go home. From my house, the voice of the head of PPS reading aloud the ballot paper could be heard clearly. I just sipped my coffee when my sister-in-law, Asiah, came bringing the latest news. According to her, there had been an argument between some supporters. The crazy thing was one of the supporters had said rude words to the other supporter, with a threat to break off the family ties. Crazy!