270 Vote-Counters Die From 'Overwork' After Huge Election

So says an elections commission rep in Indonesia
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2019 10:00 AM CDT
Voting Was Peaceful in Indonesia. 270 People Still Died
An electoral worker shows a ballot with a vote for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto during the vote counting at a polling station in Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 17, 2019.   (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

A cost-cutting measure during Indonesia's elections season seems to have been a fatal one. Reuters notes that this year's day at the polls on April 17 was the first time the nation merged its parliamentary and national votes with the presidential one, mainly to save money. That move, however, has come with a sobering cost: More than 270 election workers have been reported dead as of Saturday night by the KPU elections commission, and not from any sort of violence at the polling booths. Instead, the deceased workers succumbed to what a KPU rep says were mainly exhaustion-related illnesses after spending hours counting paper ballots by hand.

Nearly 1,900 other workers fell ill from the overwork, the rep adds. Quartz lays out the math on how the task could have been such a grueling one: About 150 million people are estimated to have voted, and each person could turn in up to five paper ballots—leaving a potential 750 million ballots to be hand-counted. Around 6 million workers were said to be working the booths at around 800,000 polling stations, per CNN. "The KPU is not prudent in managing the workload of staff," a worker for presidential opposition candidate Prabowo Subianto told local media, via Reuters. Meanwhile, they're still counting ballots, with results for the presidential election not expected to be announced until May 22. (The current president plans to move Indonesia's capital.)

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