At least 287 polling station workers and almost two dozen police officers have died from illnesses and accidents linked to exhaustion following Indonesia’s election day on 17 April, the country’s officials revealed as cited by the Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times.
"So far, 287 election workers across the country have died and 2,095 have fallen ill. The main cause of the deaths is exhaustion and some accidents and illnesses caused by exhaustion”, spokesman for the General Election Commission Arief Priyo Susanto said.
Additionally, 18 police officers dropped dead after working long hours during the votes, The Straits Times reported, citing national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo.
The government has pledged to pay compensation of up to 36 million rupiahs ($2,500) to the families of the deceased officials.
One of the world’s most populated countries held what has been dubbed by some media outlets as the world’s largest single-day elections due to the state’s authorities scheduling the presidential election, votes for the House of Representatives, the Regional Representative Council and local legislatures on a single day. This move was supposed to save money, but turned out to be a challenge for a country with nearly 193 million eligible voters, almost 81% turn-out and the hand-counting of votes.
The hand-counting is still going on as the official results are to be announced on 22 May. However, the perspective of a re-count is looming, according to Quartz. Opposition leader Prabowo Subianto, who is approximately 10 percentage points behind current president Joko Widodo, according to exit polls, complained about voter fraud. Both contenders have declared victory.