Should voters who favor no candidate be allowed to express this on their ballot paper? The Independent Committee for Election Monitoring (KIPP) believes so and has proposed that lawmakers accommodate the right of these voters, referred to as golput (white group) , by providing a “vote no” column on the paper ballot.
According to KIPP coordinator Girindra Sandino, the “vote no” column might help minimize the chances of corrupt candidates, or old faces who broke their promises, being elected. “The voters who feel confused and are not satisfied with the candidates will have room to express [that feeling] on the ballot paper,” Girindra said. The “vote no” could be a healthy incentive for leaders to improve the political system and for the government to improve its performance, he added.
However, Chairuman Harahap, chairman of House of Representatives Commission II, which oversee home affairs, said accommodating protest voters was not a good idea. He explained that the purpose of the ballot is to encourage people to vote, not abstain.
“We don’t want to give room to the white group. Because it’s clear that the purpose of the poll is for people to vote,” he said.
Chairuman said if people decided not to vote, they could simply not show up on election day, “or if they’re worried that their ballot would be manipulated by certain groups, then they would be better off showing up and crossing all the candidates [to disqualify the ballot].”
The lawmaker stressed that voting was important for the continuance of democracy.
“Voters actually have so many options to choose. We don’t need to add a special box for the white group,” he said.