What I Experienced as a Voter in General Election 2014

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TPS: "Tempat pembuangan suara" or "tempat pembuangan sampah" or "tempat pemungutan sampah"?

It was advertised as a hassle free, time and power saving procedure. But the reality is just NOT. It is not enough just to show them my identity card or kartu tanda penduduk (KTP) or passport to be entitled to the right to vote in the legislative election today (9/4).

The KPPS Chairman of Karet Kuningan whom I met told us why passports or identity cards cannot be used to claim your right to vote. He argued that they needed more control over these non-residents so it would be easier to allocate them to any place where there are ballots left because they are second rate, additional voters as non-residents.

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Pak RT wrote the admission letter aka the license to vite for us.

So I vote here in Jakarta for the first time in General Election this year. I have not been registered as a resident in the capital but thank God any non-residents still may participate and cast their ballots even if their origin or area of origin is not Jakarta. It says somewhere in the rules that we can vote outside our area of registration only if we get ourselves registered as a voter at a nearby general election committee.

With a catch…

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Like each non-resident all over the country, I can only vote if there is a ballot left. If there is no ballots left in the box, I simply have to forget the idea that I will vote for the legislative candidates that I am in favor of, which I to a certain extent doubt to find out. But well, I still have to struggle as long as there’s any hope or chance open.

Last night (8/4), I failed to get ‘license to vote’ from the Karet Kuningan KPPS Chairman, South Jakarta. But this very morning, along with a friend, I at last managed to obtain the local neighborhood official letter stating I wanted and was allowed to vote at a nearby general election booth despite my non-resident status. It took me around 60 minutes to stand in line and got the license! What a day!

And here I saw young workers from various regions in Indonesia were standing in line to get the license to vote here without having to cast their ballots at home. They look young in their twenties and early thirties, just like me. And what made me cringe was they knew they had the chance to contribute positive things to the nation and country through general election. Some young generation don’t give this election a damn. They’d rather go out to enjoy one rare public holiday and ignore the opportunities to participate in the democracy festivity. This looks good and optmistic as it may seem, I know, even for me! I suddenly realize why Devi Asmarani (a journo cum yoga teacher) was trying to convince more people to vote, not to abandon their rights to vote. I thought it would take another decades for the failing country to be a superpower country just like China and the US. Now this is the time.

It might be nothing to be called substantial but this is what I can do and am willing to contribute as best as I could. Whatever happens next, only God knows.

If the general elections cannot make Indonesia a better country, I don’t know what can.

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