INDONESIA'S DEMOCRATIC MATURITY TESTED
Shaping reforms in advance of 2014 national elections
Indonesia averages over 100 annual local elections and is preparing for important national legislative and presidential elections in 2014. While the last national elections, in 2009, were conducted without major disruption, they were fraught with problems, including inaccuracies in voter lists that disenfranchised millions, large numbers of invalid ballots and errors, and alleged fraud in the tabulation and reporting of results, including the buying and selling of fictitious and duplicate voter names. These problems were compounded by the low, and declining, levels of participation of local community and grassroots organizations in educating voters about electoral processes, and monitoring misconduct.
To improve the integrity of elections, and in preparation for the 2014 elections, our Jakarta office last year launched a comprehensive program of voter education and election observation that will complement the important work of the National Election Commission and Indonesia's Election Supervisory Body. Support of election observation in Indonesia's maturing democracy requires a different approach to those implemented in past elections: no longer is the focus on numbers of observers; the Foundation's program now aims to significantly improve the quality and timeliness of election observer reporting and support cost-effective and sustainable election observer organizations and tools, such as social media. In 2012, we supported the training of independent observers and journalists to promote peaceful elections in Aceh, as well as an integrated observation and education program for Jakarta's gubernatorial elections that targeted women and marginalized voters.