This is a crucial year for Indonesia as the country prepares for legislative and presidential elections in the coming months. Although this will be the 11th national election held in Indonesia, there are still recurring problems, like a lack of simple information about current and past candidates. This election cycle, a social organization for elections called Perludem wants to solve the problem with their API.
Built in 2005, Perludem claims to have been at the center of many elections in Indonesia by publishing various books. The team has also advised the government regarding election regulation. The organization now lets programmers and developers access and use its election database in the form of an API called APIPemilu, in the hopes that programmers can help make election information in Indonesia more transparent and accessible to the public.
Diah Setiawaty of Perludem explains there are five ready-to-use categories inside the API:
- Candidate profiles: the API holds the CVs and photos of all 7,552 candidates for the House of Representatives (DPR) as well as 21,878 candidates for provincial legislative councils in individual provinces (DPRD I).
- Geographic Data: users discover which candidates they can vote for based on their location. Perludem can help provide more back-end help if programmers want to make an interactive map.
- Election FAQs, regulations, and schedules.
- An election news feed.
- Information about current members of House of Representatives, as well as their election budgeting report.
Setiawaty says it’s very difficult to find comprehensive info on Indonesia’s elections. Four million election workers are spread out around 550,000 voting locations throughout 17,000 islands. These workers will handle an estimated 775 million voting ballots in 2,450 different versions to accommodate the 19,700 candidates in one presidential election in addition to 532 other elections at different levels. Most of the information about the election is scattered among scanned documents, including information about the candidates.
“It’s even difficult to find information about the previous election,” says Setiawaty. Even the election commission (KPU) has trouble finding data on the 2009 election because the team in charge alternates every five years, and the data aren’t well documented in the first place. The current KPU website isn’t user friendly, so it’s also difficult to find information there. She hopes this API movement can help sort out the mess.
The Perludem team will keep adding more information inside its election database for current and future elections. The team just held its first hackathon in Bandung to get developers involved by creating innovative apps using APIPemilu. Setiawaty hopes they can hold their second hackathon event soon.
Yohan Totting, co-founder of Bandung tech community FOWAB, believes there are many ways developers can use APIPemilu to build games or other fun apps. He also invites developers not only to build apps using the API, but also to help develop the API itself in what Totting describes as an open source movement. Developers can find the API here.
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)