KPU finds 3 million damaged ballot papers

The General Elections Commission (KPU) has found that 3 million ballot papers are either damaged or have been sent to the wrong region.

KPU commissioner Arief Budiman said on Wednesday that the number made up 0.39 percent of the total printed ballot papers.

Arief explained the number was not significant enough to affect the legislative election.

“It is no more than half a percent. Therefore, we are still able to print new ballot papers to replace them [the damaged ballot papers],” he told reporters at the KPU’s headquarters in Central Jakarta.

Arief added that the KPU expected contracted printing firms to start working to replace the damaged ballot papers, and that the task would be wrapped up by March 28.

“The new ballot papers have to arrive in regencies and cities on March 31. And then people at the subdistrict level need to receive the papers on April 5, by the latest,” he said.

KPU logistics bureau head Boradi said the agency was yet to see completed data on the damaged ballots as a number of Regional General Elections Commissions (KPUDs) had not filed their reports with the KPU.

The KPU said it expected the total number of damaged ballot papers would reach a little over 3 million.

Data from the KPU showed 166 out of 497 regencies had not reported to the KPU as of Wednesday. The number of damaged ballot papers was evenly spread across the country.

Earlier, KPUDs reported thousands of ballot papers had been damaged, either having been torn or perforated.

In Nias, North Sumatra, the KPUD reported that 700 ballot papers had been damaged, while 11,000 out of 600,000 ballots were damaged in Poso regency, Central Sulawesi.

Local KPUDs in Makassar and Parepare, both in South Sulawesi, found around 1,500 damaged ballot papers.

Wonogiri KPUD in Central Java also found some 1,500 damaged ballot papers, while in Sumenep, East Java, around 300 ballot papers had been torn or stained with ink.

In addition to the thousands of damaged ballot papers found during the folding stage, some local KPUDs also received hundreds of ballot papers meant for other electoral districts.

Bangka KPUD, for instance, received ballot papers intended for the Bangka II electoral district of Central Bangka regency and the Bangka V electoral district of West Bangka regency.

The KPU said it would write to regional KPUDs on how to deal with misplaced ballot papers.

“For example, if there is an excess number of ballot papers in Depok, West Java, and neighboring electoral districts like Bekasi has shortages, then they could easily swap the ballot papers,” he said.