More polling stations pledged

Ni Komang Erviani ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Denpasar   |  Mon, 01/12/2009 3:58 PM  |  Bali

The Bali General Elections Commission (KPUD) announced Friday it will increase the number of polling stations on the island to 8,401 from 7,090 for the April legislative elections to ease the burden on its officials and ensure the results deadline is met.

Bali KPUD chairman I Ketut Lanang Perbawa Sukawati said the commission aimed to reduce the possibility of late results due to a forecast high voter turnout and the large number of political parties involved.

“This is to anticipate delays in vote-counting, because this time the process will be more complicated because of the number of parties and legislative candidates,” he said at the Bali KPUD office in Denpasar.

There are 2.5 million eligible voters in Bali, comprising 1.34 million women and 1.32 million men. The majority of voters live in Denpasar, Tabanan, Gianyar, Karangasem and Badung.

As many as 4,924 candidates will compete for seats at the legislative councils (DPRD) on provincial, municipal and regency levels.

Thirty candidates will compete for seats at the Regional Representatives Council (DPD). Each province is allocated four seats at the DPD.

Lanang said the Bali KPUD had decided its previous stance of having one polling station for every 400 to 500 voters would put too much pressure on its officials to meet the results deadline.

“Based on our simulations, it will take us two days to count the votes; so we’re adding polling stations to reduce the number of ballots that will need to be counted at each station down to between 300 and 350,” he said.

The head of the Bali KPUD’s Denpasar branch, I Made Gede Ray Misno, said the extra polling stations would reduce the chance of miscounts.

“We don’t want to work our staff any later than midnight, they need to concentrate,” he said.

The regencies of Buleleng, Bangli and Gianyar, and the Denpasar municipality, are to receive the additional polling stations.

Denpasar will receive 362 extra polling stations, bringing the total there to 1,322 stations, a move that Misno said would inevitably cost more money.

Each polling station costs about Rp 20 million (US$1,820).

“So we expect to pay more money for this decision,” he said.

The final number of polling stations in the other regencies will be 1,489 in Buleleng, 1,069 in Tabanan, 926 in Gianyar, 1,150 in Karangasem, 927 in Badung, 566 in Jembrana, 591 in Bangli and 361 in Klungkung.

The official campaigning period begins March 16 and ends April 5, four days before voting day on April 9.

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