Some overseas Indonesians may vote again after fraud claim

Workers carry ballot boxes to be distributed to polling stations in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Nearly 193 million Indonesians are eligible to vote in presidential and legislative elections on Wednesday. President Joko Widodo, the first Indonesian president from outside the Jakarta elite, is competing against Prabowo Subianto, a former special forces general from the era of authoritarian rule under military dictator Suharto.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia's Election Supervision Agency said Tuesday about 320,000 overseas voters in neighboring Malaysia's biggest city should vote again in presidential and legislative elections after finding evidence that postal ballots had been tampered with.

Election officials rushed to Malaysia last week to investigate claims of vote fraud after videos circulated online showed thousands of ballots for Wednesday's elections scattered throughout a shophouse.

Opposition party representatives said the ballots for Indonesians living in Kuala Lumpur were marked in favor of President Joko Widodo, who is campaigning for re-election, and a legislative candidate who is the son of Indonesia's ambassador to Malaysia.

The agency "found legal ballot papers that allegedly were marked by non-legitimate voters at two locations in Selangor, Malaysia," said Rahmat Bagja, one of the agency's commissioners.

He said that requirements for the elections to be free, fair and honest were violated and recommended that Indonesia's Election Commission dismiss two members of the election organizing committee in Kuala Lumpur to avoid conflicts of interest.

One of them is Indonesia's deputy ambassador to Malaysia, Krishna Hannan.

The Election Commission is responsible for organizing elections and the Election Supervision Agency is responsible for overseeing them.

About 193 million Indonesians are eligible to vote in the elections for president, the Senate and national, provincial and district legislatures.

Opinion polls show Widodo has a large lead over his challenger, former special forces general Prabowo Subianto, whose campaign has repeatedly alleged major irregularities with voter rolls.

Bagja said the overseas vote in Sydney should be reopened because many expatriate Indonesians in the Australian city were unable to cast ballots in time.

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This story has been corrected to show that the organization is the Election Supervision Agency, not Election Commission.

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