The 2019 general election is likely to be postponed in Banggai regency, Central Sulawesi, due to a delay in the distribution of ballots.
Banggai regency was among the regions that were rocked by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake on April 12.
It was reported earlier that nine districts in the regency, including Luwuk, North Luwuk, South Luwuk, East Luwuk, West Luwuk, Batui, West Toili and Moilong, had not received their assigned quota of ballots by Wednesday.
Sahran Raden of the General Elections Commission (KPU) for Central Sulawesi said on Wednesday that the latest update reported that seven districts had yet to receive their full quota of ballots.
By Wednesday morning, West Toili had nearly received its entire quota, while Moilong had received only 50 percent and Batui had received only 25 percent of its assigned quota.
KPU Central Sulawesi head Tanwir Lamaming said the delay in distributing more than 243,000 sets of ballots due to a lack of storage space.
Each set contains five ballots for electing five separate candidates: the presidential pair, a House of Representatives candidate, a Regional Representatives Council (DPD) candidate, a provincial legislative council (DPRD) candidate and a regency/municipal legislative council (DPRD) candidate. This means that distribution has been delayed for more than 1 million ballots in Banggai.
“The KPU Banggai initially pitched a tent for storing the ballots. But rainfall has been relatively heavy, so they canceled the plan,” said Tanwir.
KPU Banggai's Supriadi Lawani said the commission held a meeting with Banggai Regent Herwin Yatim and local police to find a location to store the ballots. Supriadi did not divulge the reason why the plan did not go through, but explained that a subsequent decision was made to store the ballots in a shipping container on the KPU Banggai's premises. However, this plan was scrapped because the ground in front of the office was not concrete, but unreinforced soil.
Supriadi said KPU Banggai then tried to rent space from the local administration, but the regent refused, saying he wanted to maintain "neutrality”.
“So this is the situation. We are ready to be punished for this, but we did not intend this to happen,” said Supriadi, adding that voters in Banggai would likely vote on Thursday.