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Collected Item: “A Few Changes To My City's Mayoral Election”

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A Few Changes To My City's Mayoral Election

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Text Story

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Early December 2020, a local election was held in my city for mayor (and deputy mayor). We didn’t pick between candidates, but between a candidate and an empty candidate box. So, no one else was running against the candidate, but we still had to vote. Apparently this was the first time in the city's history that there was an empty candidate box.

This wasn’t my first time voting, but it was my first time voting during a pandemic. I didn’t have to go, and neither did any of the members of my neighborhood community. Like always, we would be given invitations to vote if we’re eligible, and I had gotten my invitation a few days before. My brother was appointed as one of the assistants of the neighborhood voting stations — to manage people voting and to help count the votes. This wasn’t his first time doing this either, and considering how he had to work restlessly until the votes were tallied the time before, I was rather worried. He and the rest of the staff voted a day or so before the voting was available to the public.

Again, we didn’t have to go. However, I was informed that only an estimated 300 people in my neighborhood were given approval to vote this time around. Later, I found out that at this voting station, only about half showed up and voted. I don’t know what the usual estimate was before for reference, but I must say that there used to be around three voting stations within walking distance of my house. The factors that come into play here, to my knowledge, are the pandemic and that this was a local election. Besides that, our invitations had specific times for when we should’ve gotten there, like appointments, but we didn’t get to choose when that was. I got a bright and early 7:00AM - 8:00AM. I doubt they were going to be strict about this, but I still got there a little after 7:00AM.

As for the voting process, it was the same as always. Provide my invitation and identification card, wait for verification, get my paper ballot, show a panel that my ballot was free of tampering, cast my vote, drop it into the box, get my pinky finger inked (it was marker refill ink) for proof, and was on my way. The difference here was that we had to wash our hands at a makeshift sink area, wear plastic gloves (the type you handle food with), and well, keep our masks on. We all threw away our plastic gloves after voting, then washed our hands again.

https://tirto.id/siapa-pemenang-pilkada-balikpapan-rahmad-thohari-vs-kotak-kosong-f7Wj (for context)

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Arizona State University, URE494, HST494, Voting, Election, Mayor, Kalimantan, Indonesia

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Fitria Hardono

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