DKI Jakarta Pilkada: Voter Participation and Rationality

JAKARTA. The DKI Jakarta regional head election (pilkada) went quite well with the voter turnout reaching 75.7 percent. This percentage increased from voter turnout in the 2012 Jakarta Pilkada where the turnout rate did not reach 70 percent. The citizens of the capital are proven to have rationality and take advantage of the momentum of the democratic party which takes place once every five years amidst a situation of massive politically motivated socio-religious actions.

The Populi Center in collaboration with Perludem held an off air Jakarta Perspective discussion on Monday (27/2) at the Perludem Office located on Jl. Tebet Timur IVA Number 1. The discussion was attended by the Deputy Director of the Association for Voters and Democracy (Perludem) Khoirunnisa Agustiyati, the Coordinator of the Voter Education Network for the People (JPPR) Masykurudin Hafidz, and the Director of the Populi Center Usep S Ahyar.

Khoirunnisa Agustiyati, Deputy Director of Perludem, said that voter turnout has decreased since the first elections in 1999. In 1999, voter turnout reached 90 percent, then fell to 80 percent in 2004 and 70 percent in 2009. According to Khoirunnisa, there are at least seven reasons why people don't come to the polling place (TPS).

First, theological. This means that there is a religious interpretation that views participation in elections as something that is prohibited by religion. Second, protest. Citizens' expressions of protest against politicians and political parties that are considered unprofitable.

Third, resistance. Resistance to building a political system that curbs the political rights of citizens. Fourth, trust. Trust in the political system that is working. Fifth, mal-administration by not registering the public as voters.

Sixth, individual technical like being on vacation out of town. Seventh, the saturation that causes the many election events that they have to participate in not long.

"The absence of people to the TPS is a factor of political parties. It is appropriate for political parties to conduct political education, mobilize the masses, what is their vision and mission so that people are interested in coming to polling stations," said Khoirunnisa. On the other hand, election administrators have a role to ensure that people are registered at polling stations. The public only knows that the Jakarta Pilkada will be held on February 15 2017, but most people do not know information about what to do if they are not registered at TPS and how to report fraud.

JPPR Coordinator Masykurudin Hafidz explained that the implementation of regional elections in Jakarta experienced three concurrent situations. First, political events. The competition between the three candidate pairs and the parties or figures behind each candidate became a national-level political battle.

Second, legal issues. In the regional election event, we experienced a situation where an incumbent was reported by certain parties regarding religious blasphemy. Third, the issue of religion. "There will be political, legal, belief or religious issues in the second round," explained Masykurudin.

It's just that, he admits, the people in the second round will also be based on the idea of building Jakarta with the vision and mission of the candidate pairs. "So the idea of building Jakarta is far from being a consideration for coming to TPS rather than the second and third reasons (legal and religious)," he concluded.

He continued, he suggested that the strategy of candidate pairs number two and three in the second round was to vote for the white group (abstentions), which in the first round reached 24.3 percent. If you take the strategy of taking the votes of voters who choose pair number one, it will be difficult to explain. “Moreover, until now there has been no number one supporting political party that has expressed its stance. It's going to be tough. It's much easier if we draw closer to the white group," said Masykurudin.

On the other hand, Director of the Populi Center, Usep S Ahyar, acknowledged that the Jakarta people's willingness to vote based on survey data conducted by Populi reached 90 percent. So why did only 75.7 percent come to the TPS? According to Usep, this was due to chaotic administration. There are registered voters but the address where they live is wrong and there are voters who have died.

Apart from that, another technical difficulty is the difficulty of reaching the people of Jakarta who live in difficult areas such as apartments or elite housing. "Voters' rights must be guaranteed, no matter what," said Usep.

In an exit poll conducted by the Populi Center on the 15 February local elections, the majority of Jakartans said that the regional elections were honest, good and fair. However, regarding the issue of openness to their political choices, around 20 percent of voters are reluctant to reveal who they just voted for in the voting booth.
Society feels the hegemony or symbolic oppression. "All the people who vote feel that there is political pressure when choosing A or B or C, especially when choosing a society that is generally different from the minority," he explained.

For the second round itself, he will continue to be influenced by several things. First, more or less the preferences of political parties will influence the choices of citizens. When a political party chooses a certain candidate, the voters will choose according to the choice of the political party. Therefore, the support map is something to look forward to. Second, the emphasis on work programs and vision and mission. "This is what I think must be proven how to understand the facts and the problem," he added.