Presidential and legislative elections in 2019 are held simultaneously. People are focusing more on the presidential election, rather than legislative polls. It caused low attention on legislative candidates contestation and the emergence of undecided voters who might become abstentions due to confusion and not well-informed on legislative candidates’ information. To solve this problem, Perludem cooperates with the General Elections Commission (KPU), Google Indonesia, Cek Fakta, rumahpemilu.org, Youth IGF Indonesia, and Kok Bisa launched a website Pintarmemilih.id, a site which is expected to help the voters to gain sufficient information about the legislative candidates. Pintarmemilih.id as one of the uses of cyber-democracy in the digital era has opportunities in demography and accessibility. However, Pintarmemilih.id also has challenges in distributing and getting the attention to this website, so that it can have a greater impact.
Simultaneous Elections 2019 will be held on 17 April 2019. Interestingly, the voters will get five ballots to vote legislative council (DPRD Provinsi), district/ city legislative council (DPRD Kabupaten/ Kota), and regional representative council (DPD). Although the campaign has been held since 23 September 2018, Indikator Politik Indonesia's survey conducted on 16-26 December 2018 showed that there were undecided voters around 16.5 percent who have not decided which political parties they will vote for legislative election yet. According to the Kompas R&D survey, the undecided voters claimed that they are still confused and do not know the legislative candidates. This is due to the people’s low attention on the legislative election in comparison to the presidential election in Simultaneous Elections 2019. Alvara Research Center stated that young voters who might become abstentions dominate undecided voters.
Abstention is indeed a constitutional right, not prohibited, and protected by International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia 1945, and Human Rights. Besides, abstention is not prohibited in the Law Number 7 of 2017 on General Election, because voting is a political right, not a civic obligation. However, there are as many as 16.5 percents of undecided voters that have the potential to become abstinent as the problem that need to be addressed.
This is worsened by restricted information about legislative candidates’ profile, visions and missions, and future program by KPU. Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Association for Election and Democracy (Perludem), Titi Anggraini, stated that the openness of the information about legislative candidates’ track record, quality, visions, and missions are essential knowledge for the voters. The closed information force people to vote the legislative candidates without strong consideration.
How to solve the problem regarding the lack of information about legislative candidates to the voters, especially the undecided voters who are dominated by young voters? This is where cyber-democracy can be used to answer existing challenges. According to Campbell (2014 dikutip dalam Haupt 2017), cyber-democracy is a method to implement civic education to spread information inclusively, so that more people participate in community activities through new media.
In practice, the cyber-democracy concept has been used in various forms, such as online petition, opening public discussion through multiple social media platforms, it is also used to make an interaction between legislators and their constituents, thus creating a transparent democratic process. The increase of internet usage, ease of access, the speed of information, and interactivity or information exchange offered by new media, become a catalyst for disseminating information to audiences and providing freshness to the practice of democracy life.
In Indonesia, cyber-democracy is used to support Simultaneous Elections 2019 through Pintarmemilih.id. This website just launched on 19 February 2019 as a result of the cooperation between Perludem with KPU, Google Indonesia, Cek Fakta, rumahpemilu.org, Youth IGF Indonesia, and Kok Bisa. This platform becomes the easy way to get various information about the simultaneous elections. The data in Pintarmemilih.id are valid, because it obtained from KPU.
Pintarmemilih.id has a minimalist interface, informative features, and user-friendly. The main feature of this website is the list of legislative candidates. The visitors can search the information of the legislative candidates by (1) putting the name of the district in the search bar located on the main page. After that (2) the visitors should press the legislative’s level, then the list of legislative candidates, parties, electoral district, number, and legislative candidates’ photo will appear. Then, (3) press one of the legislative candidate’s name, and it will show the candidate’s profile, motivation, target, and the required documents which can be shared by the visitors through Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Whatsapp.
Pintarmemilih.id has considerable opportunities as a platform to disseminate information about legislative candidates, especially to undecided voters mostly consist of young voters. In terms of age groups, the APJII 2017 survey reported that the age group 19-34 years which also includes young voters make up 49.52 percent of total internet users in Indonesia. Due to the significant amount of young voters who use the internet, Pintarmemilih.id has the potential to provide awareness among young voters. Another opportunity is accessibility, based on the increase of internet usage in Indonesia from time to time. Investor Daily Indonesia said that the projection of Indonesian internet user would reach 175 million or 65.3 percent in 2019, which means an increase of 22.37 percent compared to the result of the survey of Indonesian Internet Provider Association (APJII) in 2017. Also, this opportunity is supported by the Palapa Ring project that connects the internet throughout Indonesia, so that internet access becomes evenly distributed.
The challenges in the deployment of this website also need attention. The problems include the low exposure to media, such as the video ‘Kenali Caleg Via Teknologi’ released on March 23, 2019 which was only watched by 1073 viewers and the video ‘Mengenal Caleg via Teknologi’ released on March 20, 2019 which was only watched by 4864 viewers. The official press release uploaded by Perludem also only read by 295 viewers. This was compounded by the behavior of young people as the domination of undecided voters had a tendency not to follow political news, apathy in the political process, and lack of political knowledge.
Regarding the low amount of attention and exposure of the media compared to the 16.5 percent of existing undecided voters, this website still needs some effort to be introduced more widely Through appropriate tactics, Pintarmemilih.id can reach the target audiences. It is hoped that this website can have a more significant and more sustainable impact. Although there are still many things that need to be improved, Pintarmemilih.id has become an excellent example of innovation in supporting the development of cyber-democracy practices in Indonesia.
Written by: Valentinus Yudanto Seto Damarjati
Editor: Janitra Haryanto
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