Elections in Time of Pandemic


By Lydnsey Martin and Pan Mohamad Faiz

(This article was published in The Jakarta Post on September 10, 2020, page 6)

Later this year, both Indonesia and the United States will hold elections. In the US, voters will go to the polls on Nov. 3 to elect the president, 35 senators, all 435 members of the House of Representatives, as well as state and local government officials. On Dec. 9, around 106 million Indonesians across the country’s 270 regions will vote in regional elections.

However, with more than 170,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia and more than 4.5 million confirmed cases in the US, the pandemic has led to concerns about the health and safety of the electorate and poll organizers.

One of the primary concerns that leaders in the US and Indonesia must address is the risk of low voter turnout due to fears over COVID-19. For many voters, going to a crowded polling station to cast a ballot may pose too great a risk of exposure, thus they may choose to forfeit their right to vote and stay home.

Continue reading