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The Global Impact of Open Data by Stefaan Verhulst, Andrew Young

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Chapter 5. Indonesia’s Kawal Pemilu

Elections: Free, Fair, and Open Data

Summary: Kawal Pemilu (“guard the election,” in Indonesian) was launched in the immediate aftermath of the 2014 presidential elections, as the country was riven by political polarization and the two leading contenders for the presidency traded allegations of vote rigging. Faced with this delicate moment in Indonesia’s ongoing process of democratization, a globally dispersed group of technologists, activists and volunteers came together to create a website that would allow citizens to compare official vote tallies with the original tabulations from polling stations. These tabulations were already made public as part of the Elections General Commission’s (KPU) commitment to openness and transparency. However, Kawal Pemilu’s organizers played a critical role in assembling a team of over 700 volunteers to digitize the often handwritten forms and make the data more legible and accessible. The site was assembled in a mere two days, with a total budget of just $54. Its overall impact was to enable citizen participation in monitoring the election results, increase public trust in official tallies, and more generally, help ease an important democratic transition.

Dimension of Impact: Improving Government—Tackling Corruption and Transparency

Key Takeaways:

  • Successful open data projects rely and often build on a pre-existing government commitment to openness and ...

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