On 17 April 2019, for the first time in Indonesia’s history, presidential, parliamentary, and regional elections took place at the same time—spread across five different ballot boxes. Some 800,000 polling stations were set up across the country and over seven million workers were drafted in to oversee the voting process. It was one of the most complex single day ballots in global history.

The election was hailed as a massive logistical success shortly after the polls closed, but in the days that followed news started to trickle in of suspicious deaths of those who had helped to pull off this Herculean feat. It was at first thought that 90 workers had lost their lives, only for the number to rise to 270, and then to over 320. As the tone of the electoral coverage started to transform, many wondered if the death toll was just a coincidence—given the millions involved in facilitating election day.

This is not an attempt to answer the question of why and how these people died. Nor to try and prove a link to their deaths and the election. It would be impossible to do so.

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Aisyah Llewellyn

Aisyah Llewellyn is a British freelance writer based in Medan, Indonesia. She is a former diplomat and writes primarily about Indonesian politics, culture, travel and food.