Uncounted ballots burned in West Sumatra warehouse fire

Ballots are seen in a ballot box at a polling booth during elections in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia April 17, 2019.
PHOTO: Reuters

A fire gutted an elections logistics warehouse in Koto XI Tarusan district, South Pesisir, West Sumatra, at around 1pm on Monday, destroying several boxes of ballots.

South Pesisir General Elections Commission (KPU South Pesisir) commissioner Epaldi Bahar said that 10 boxes were destroyed.

"At the time of the incident, there were 785 boxes of ballots. Officers at the site managed to save 775 boxes but could not save the remaining 10," Epaldi told The Jakarta Post on Monday, adding that the KPU would leave it to the local police to investigate the cause of the fire.

KPU South Pesisir will also hold a meeting with the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and political parties to discuss the incident as they have copies of the C1 poll tally forms, according to Epaldi.

South Pesisir Police chief Sr. Adj. Comr. Fery Herlambang said the police were currently investigating the incident to determine the cause of the fire.

He added that the West Sumatra Police's Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (Inafis) personnel would help investigate the case.

Fery said that the evening prior to the fire, the elections committee were counting the votes in the warehouse hall and the district head office, which is located within 10 minutes' walk of the warehouse.

The vote count in the warehouse took place until midnight, while the count in the district head office was still underway when the warehouse fire broke out at around 1am.

"At the time, participants of the vote count in the district head office tried to put out the fire so it wouldn't spread to other buildings," he said.

Up to 331,260 voters cast their ballots in a total of 1,479 polling stations across South Pesisir regency on April 17.