Data Card

Electorate 2014

Print edition : April 18, 2014
India adds 100 million voters between 2009 and 2014, including 23.16 million who will vote for the first time.

The gigantic, month-long exercise to elect 543 members to the Lok Sabha in April-May will see 814.5 million voters from 28 States and seven Union Territories cast their votes. Indications are that the turnout could be high. The electorate constitutes almost 98 per cent of all eligible voters who have attained the age of 18 in 2014 (who, according to the last Census, number 833 million). It is certainly not easy wearing the crown of being the world’s largest democracy.

100 million more voters

According to figures released recently by the Election Commission of India, over 100 million voters have been added to the electoral rolls between 2009 and 2014. This is one of the largest ever increases in new voters between two general elections and double the increase between 2004 and 2009.

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh together account for nearly half of the Lok Sabha seats (252 of 543) and over half of the country’s electors.

First-time voters

A total of 23.16 million new voters (2.8 per cent of the country’s total electorate) have just turned 18. Of them, 13.56 million are male and 9.59 million female. According to the Election Commission, 47 per cent of all electors are under the age of 35.

While the national average for new voters as a percentage of the overall electors is 2.84, the Union Territory of Dadar & Nagar Haveli has the highest proportion of new voters, at 9.88 per cent. This is followed by Jharkhand (9.03 per cent), Chhattisgarh (4.95 per cent), Rajasthan (4.8 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (3.35 per cent), Assam (3.51 per cent), and Puducherry and West Bengal (3.3 per cent each). Among the southern States, Kerala and Karnataka have the lowest, at 1.75 and 1.8 per cent respectively. Tamil Nadu has 2.23 per cent and Andhra Pradesh 2.48 per cent.

Sex ratio

The electoral sex ratio, which has hovered in the 52:48 range for a few decades, remains the same, with 52.4 per cent or 426.651 million male and 47.6 per cent or 387.911 million women voters. While the national gender ratio (on the electoral rolls) is 940 females for every 1,000 males, a number of States fare better. They include the north-eastern States barring Assam (931 women voters for every 1,000 male voters), with Manipur (1,039) leading the way followed by Mizoram (1,037), Meghalaya (1,018), Arunachal Pradesh (1,004), Nagaland (976) and Tripura (962).

Not surprisingly, Kerala, given its high literacy rates and political awareness among the population, has the best gender sex ratio roll in the country among the States—1,079. However, the best sex ratio in the country is in the Union Territory of Puducherry (1,084). All the southern States and Goa (1,005) have a better-than-national sex ratio average—Tamil Nadu (999), Andhra Pradesh (989) and Karnataka (960). The Hindi heartland continues to lag in gender parity on the electoral rolls.

Gujarat, albeit Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s triumphalism about the State’s modernity and progress, lags behind the national average at 911 women voters for every 1,000 men. So do West Bengal (923), Odisha (920), Madhya Pradesh (905), Uttarakhand (905), Punjab (899), Rajasthan (899), Jammu & Kashmir (895), Jharkhand (898), Maharashtra (887), Bihar (876), Haryana (847) and Chandigarh (842). Uttar Pradesh fares the worst among the States with just 825 women voters for every 1,000 males. The National Capital Territory of Delhi fares even worse, with 804.

Overseas electors

Although Indians living overseas were given voting rights in 2010 through an amendment to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, to vote in an Indian election, the majority of them have not been able to do so as they have to travel all the way to India to exercise their franchise. For example, while there are over two million Keralites living abroad, only 1,14,488 are registered as voters and only 4,639 cast their votes in the last State Assembly elections.

The BJP would like the Election Commission to ease the procedures for NRI voting by allowing the use of postal ballots, voting at Indian Missions abroad, or facilitating online voting. Currently, the law is that every voter has to be present in person to cast his vote at the constituency where he or she is registered, with only government officials on election duty, members of the armed and paramilitary forces, and those serving the government but employed outside the country given the option of postal ballot.

As per Election Commission figures, there are over 1.27 million male and female service personnel who are eligible to vote in the forthcoming elections.

“Other” voters

There are 28,341 voters who have registered as “Others” (transgenders), with Karnataka topping the list with 8,453 others, followed by Uttar Pradesh (6,630), Andhra Pradesh (4,421) and Tamil Nadu (2,996).


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