The figures involved in India’s general election are staggering: 900 million voters, 83 million first-time voters, 11 million poll workers, nearly 4 million electronic voting machines, 1 million polling booths and 570 special trains for migrant laborers and security personnel, Associated press reports.
Such numbers convey the scale of the world’s biggest democratic exercise. But its smaller numbers that show India’s commitment to reach every voter, no matter how remote.
In India’s six-week marathon election that began this week, the Election Commission has ruled that no voter should have to travel more than 2 kilometers, or just over a mile, from their home to cast a ballot, whether they live on a Himalayan peak or an island in the Bay of Bengal.
The polling booth in Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat is set up for the sole human inhabitant, a Hindu priest who lives among the lions. Polling officials hike for a whole day to reach the remote village of Malogam in Arunachal Pradesh, where just one woman is registered to vote.