Why Does India Take So Long to Vote?

The elections span over 39 days — but they're actually short when one considers India's first three-month-long election after independence.


Maya Bhardwaj


April 22, 2019

The world’s largest elections, with 900 million Indian citizens commenced on April 11. The United States, in comparison, had 250 million voters in 2016. India’s elections will span over 39 days, and run in stages — from April 11 to May 19 with final results announced May 23. Election days are April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12, and May 19.

The elections may seem long, but 39 days is short when one considers India’s first election after independence — it ran for three months between 1951 and 1952 with 173 million voters.

However, 1957 had the last long elections, which ran for 107 days. The next elections, in 1962, ran for just six days, but were mired with violence. Short elections remained the norm until the early 1990s, when TN Seshan became the new Chief Election Commissioner. Seshan is credited with cleaning up India’s elections by distributing voter IDs and implementing an election code of conduct.

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