An election watchdog has said that it found no indication of “systematic cheating”, but instead discovered that hundreds of data-input mistakes in the vote count by the General Elections Commission (KPU) were caused by human error.
The Independent Election Monitoring Committee (KIPP) has found that those human errors and technical glitches were behind the inaccuracy and the slow progress of entering data into the KPU’s vote count information system (Situng).
“We haven’t seen any allegations [of systematic cheating] to date, but the [glitches] should be of concern to the KPU. The commission must act professionally,” KIPP secretary-general Kaka Suminta said as quoted by kompas.com.
The KPU recently got hit by allegations that it was involved in cheating, after findings showed that some vote-count data entered by the commission on its website kpu.go.id did not match the data on C1 vote tally forms recorded by election committees. The allegations were mostly expressed by politicians and supporters of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who was defeated by incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo according quick count results by many credible pollsters.
The commission argued that the inconsistent data found on the website was merely caused by human error and they fixed it right away.
Kaka noted that the Situng did not have a system that could automatically clarify or cross-check the input data, while the officials themselves also did not receive sufficient training for the data entry process.
Besides, the KPU opened the vote-count data input to the public on its website as soon as the vote count began, but the commission’s IT system might have been vulnerable because it had not yet passed beta testing.
The server also seemed to not be able to accommodate many attempts to access it at the same time. Thus the officials working to confirm the vote counts could not enter the data as fast as expected because of the web traffic, he said.
“The [officials] experienced fatigue not only because of their work load, but also because they face problems with the KPU’s server […] that cause them to stay overnight,” Kaka said.
He also noted that the Situng did not have a system that could clarify or confirm the input data, while the officials themselves had not received enough training.
A coalition of civil society groups monitoring the vote count found at least 680 glitches in the Situng as of Thursday morning, a week after voting day on April 17.
The findings found, for instance, 218 cases in which C1 forms for the presidential election vote tally were swapped with C1 forms for legislative election vote tallies in the vote counting information system.
There were also 196 cases of data-input errors from C1 to the system, as well as 151 cases in which the C1 forms were not attached in the Situng.