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Nearly 300 ballot counters who are of exhaustion in Indonesia elections – Quartz at Work



Nearly 300 people have died the world's biggest ever-election, which took place this month in Indonesia — not through protests or civil unrest, but exhaustion.

related illness in the 10 days following the country's April 17 vote. An additional 1,878 were ill, according to the General Elections Commission (KPU) spokesperson. They are counting the country's paper ballots, and with a population of 270 million people, which is a task to make anyone feel weary. [Indonesia] is the fourth most populous country in the world. It's estimated that 80% of the country's 192 million eligible citizens voted, meaning 1

50 million people turned up to the polls. Multiply by the five ballot papers each person had the option to punch out, and that's up to 750 million ballots that need to be counted — by hand.

AP Photo / Tatan Syuflana

Government employees prepare a Kafka-esque number of ballot boxes ahead of Indonesia's elections.

national votes. This is the largest single-day election in human history. The government says it will offer compensation to the families of the deceased

Working yourself to death

Death from overwork is a scarily common occurrence around the world. In 2013, in Indonesia, an advertising copy editor slipped into a coma and died hours after tweeting "30 hours of work and still going to straw." on by working 72 hours straight. Also in 2013, a 31-year-old journalist in Tokyo was found dead of heart failure in her bed (paywall), still clutching her mobile phone, after working 159 hours of overtime in a single month.

In Japan, they even have a word for it: karōshi, which translates to "overwork death." It's defined as the sudden death by cardiac arrest or suicide of an employee who's worked more than 80 to 100 hours of overtime a month. In 2017 in Japan, 92 people died from a stroke or heart attack caused by long work hours, and 98 workers committed or attempted suicide, according to the labor ministry. Japanese businesses are desperately trying to shift this cultural expectation; one company has even taken to blasting the Rocky theme song at 6pm to try and get employees to leave on time.

The 190 people who died of karōshi in 2017 are just the The official government officially recognizes — the real number is estimated to be much higher. For example, overworking in China ranges from 1,600 a day to 600,000 a year, for example.

Stanford University organizational behavior Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer notes the Western world is not immune. "I didn't think the workplace would be the fifth leading cause of death in the United States," Pfeffer said while discussing the research for his book Dying for a Paycheck. "And when I talk to HR people, they say the numbers are wrong: They are too low."

Back in Indonesia, the official results of the 2019 presidential election are due to be announced until May 22 That means another three-plus weeks of hand-counting ballots for the CPU staff. Incumbent president Joko Widodo is around 10 percentage points ahead of opposition leader Prabowo Subianto, according to exit polls, and both but declared victory.

But Subianto is allegedly fraudulent. If his claims stick, then the entire country might be forced to recount. By hand.


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