India’s general elections are underway.
Voting will occur on nine dates over five weeks and will move from the North to the South. The final tallies are due May 16.
Morgan Stanley’s Ridham Desai declared this would be the “biggest election in world history.”
While the statistics are staggering, it’s quite fascinating how much care goes into making sure every last eligible voter submit their ballots.
Here are eight interesting facts about the elections that make them so impressive.
- 814 million Indians are eligible to vote in the 2014 general elections which are slated to be the world’s biggest elections. That’s 100 million more than the last general elections in 2009.
- 168 million, or about 20%, will be eligible to vote for the first time. You have to be at least 18 years old to be eligible to vote in India.
- 28,314 voters have registered as transgender. India’s transgender community is being recognised for the first time and can vote under ‘third sex’ or ‘others’, a category that didn’t exist in the last elections, according to the BBC.
- The election will cost about $US5 billion (or 300 billion rupees), according to Centre for Media Studies via Bloomberg. That’s 150% more than the last elections in 2009.
- 919,000 polling stations have been set up with approximately 3.6 million electronic voting machines. This is because the Election Commission of India (ECI) has ruled that no one should have to travel more than 2 kilometers (about 1.2 miles) to reach a polling station, and that no polling station should have to manage more than 1,500 voters.
- 10 million people will be working. Elected officials, army soldiers and temporary workers are among the workforce running the logistics behind the elecions, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
- Special “flying squads” have been set up to monitor campaigns and ensure that there isn’t any bribing of voters with cash, alcohol, and even prescription medication, reports the Times of India. These flying squads will be made up of administration officials from various districts and will also keep tabs on campaign vehicles.
- In Gujrat’s Gir Forest, officials set up a voting booth, manned by five people for just one voter, Mahant Bharatdas, according to the New York Times.
The elections are already underway and are expected to wrap up on May 12.
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