More Than 270 Workers Die of “Overwork” in World’s Biggest Single-Day Elections in Indonesia: Officials

Officials count ballots at a polling center after the polls closed for Indonesia's general election in Kuta on the island of Bali on April 17, 2019.(Credit: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images)

Officials count ballots at a polling center after the polls closed for Indonesia's general election in Kuta on the island of Bali on April 17, 2019.(Credit: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 270 election staff have died from overwork-related illnesses after the world’s third biggest democracy hit the polls earlier this month, an election official said Saturday.

As of Saturday night, 272 election officers were dead and another 1,878 were sick after helping to administer the world’s biggest single-day elections on April 17, CNN Indonesia reported.

Six million election workers were involved in the election, which was billed as one of the most complicated single-day ballots ever undertaken.

CNN has not been able to independently verify the claims made by the election official.

For the first time, Indonesia held its presidential and legislative elections on the same day, with around 192.8 million people across the archipelago’s 17,000 islands eligible to vote in more than 800,000 polling stations.

Arief Priyo Susanto, spokesman of the General Elections Commission, known as the KPU, said the election officials had mostly died from overwork-related illnesses, according to CNN-affiliate SBS.

According to CNN Indonesia’s report, General Elections Commission chief Arief Budiman acknowledged the officers had been overworked. He said that was partly due to the tight timeline to deliver the election results, and the decision to hold the presidential and legislative elections simultaneously.

CNN has made attempts to contact KPU and has reached out to Indonesia’s government for comment.

Sandiaga Uno, the running mate of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, said fundamental mistakes had been made in how the election was implemented.

“If the victims continue to fall, there is something fundamentally very wrong,” he said, according to CNN Indonesia.

Early results indicated that incumbent Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had secured a second term, winning the presidency for a second time against longtime rival Prabowo. Prabowo initially claimed that alternative polls by his own team put him in the lead.

Early “quick counts” of the ballots put Jokowi around 55% of the vote, with Prabowo winning around 44%. “Quick counts” are conducted by a variety of credible polling agencies and have proved reliable in the past. Final official results will be announced by May 22.

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