Indonesia Raya, merdeka! Merdeka!
We interrupt the previously scheduled programming of the What Makes Jakarta, Jakarta (to me) series to come to you LIVE on Indonesian Election Day!
Did you know that today it is estimated that 193 million people from over 17,000 islands across Indonesia will come together to vote for not only the president of Indonesia but also parliament officials making this one of the biggest, most complex one-day elections in the world- say whaaaaa???
The Presidential candidates are current President, President Jokowi, and presidential nominee Prabowo.
This is my second election in Jakarta (the first being the governor race about two years ago) and it is fascinating to see how things are run here.
Here are some interesting things about Indonesian elections:
-Most everyone gets today off, seeing as it is a public holiday (unless you work in a service industry such as a restaurant and grocery store. Our local grocery store opened later to give its employees a chance to vote)
-In Indonesian elections everyone votes directly for the president (as opposed to the US where an electoral college gets the vote) however military personalle and policemen are not allowed to vote as an attempt to help them maintain neutrality.
-Basically every neighborhood has a polling station (which consists of a tent on a street with chairs and tables) so most people walk to the station from their houses!
-The way a ballot is cast is by using a nail to pierce through the picture of the candidate of your choice and then placed in a box to be counted (This is my favorite fact!)
-After someone finishes voting their finger gets dipped in ink as a means to prevent them from voting again (seeing as the ink cannot be washed off) making it a way to prevent voting freud and kind of a cool way to show off that you voted (think America's version of the "I voted" stickers lol)
Votes are tallied up and there usually is an unofficial count of who wins by the end of the day. Soooo we should see who ends up becoming the next President of Indonesia very soon!
Hope you found some of those things as interesting as I did! And maybe you can keep Indonesia in your thoughts today as big things are happening that can determine the future of this country.
Happy voting to all my Indonesian friends and may the best man win!