India has begun it's national election today. Every five years, the country votes for new members of Parliament and elects a new Prime Minister. There are some things about the election process here that are strange to us, who are used to the American political process.
The election just starts today. It won't be finished today...or this week, or even this month. The voting will be going on from now until May 12th. (That's a lot different than our one day elections!) The results of the voting will be published on the 16th of May, more than a month after the voting starts! That's a lot different than the results of our US elections being "projected" before the polls even close!
The different states vote on different days. Some of the larger states have more than one day of voting. Votes will be cast in Chandigarh on April 10th, and in the state of Punjab on April 30th. The reason for the staggered voting is mostly due to security concerns. There are always riots and violence associated with the elections. (Don't worry, we stay at home and away from polling stations on election days.) There will be over 2 million police and security officers dispatched through the country to protect the polling stations. There are also concerns about corruption. Somehow, this staggered process is supposed to cut down on fraud. (Hmmm..I wonder)
|High tech voting booth!|
This election there are 814.5 million people registered to vote. This is the largest number of voters in the world.
More than 100 million new voters are eligible to place their votes in this election.
This election is estimated to cost 35 billion rupees (about 580 million US dollars). This excludes the cost of security and what individual political parties have spent.
The parties are estimated to have spent 305 billion rupees ($5 billion US dollars). This is second only to what was spent by US political parties in the 2012 election ($7 billion US dollars).