Understanding the flaws in Indonesia's electoral democracy
January-March 2014
By: Ramlan Surbakti

Second, the number of votes required to win is not substantially large since candidates do not need a simple majority. If a political party manages to secure two seats, the seats will be granted to candidates who garner the first and second highestnumber of valid votes.

Based on 2009, there are at least five ways to go about vote-buying. First, a can­didate may buy votes directly from voters, either individually or collectively, through a middleman who is usually a familiar person among the voters. Second, a candidate may “buy” votes from other candidates within their party and within the same constituency. The buying candidate is typically someone who requires extra votes in order to win, while the candidate who “sells” them does not have enough to win anyway. The buy­ing candidate usually will reimburse the campaign expenses of the selling candidate. Vote-buying can only occur with approval from polling officials and/or election offi­cials at the subdistrict level, with the excuse that it’s a party’s internal issue, irrespective of whether bribes are involved.

Third, on polling day, a voter may vote for one party, or candidate, or a party and one of its candidates. Hence, the party would garner votes not only for candidates but also direct votes for itself. Votes garnered by a party may be “taken over” by one or more candidates who need extra votes to get in. The vote takeover may only occur with ap­proval from polling officials and/or election officials.

Fourth, candidates who still need more votes may steal votes from other candidates from the same party and constituency. Vote-stealing may occur with approval from poll­ing officials and/or election officials at the subdistrict level, upon receiving an “appreci­ation fee” from the stealing candidate. If this method is exposed, candidates whose votes are stolen will protest since the loss of the votes damages their chances to win a seat.

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