India sees six-fold jump in voters since 1951; total electorate on January 1 is over 94.50 crore

Yet, almost one-third of voters — people from urban areas, youth and migrants — stayed away from exercising their franchise in the last Lok Sabha polls, according to the Election Commission

Updated - February 05, 2023 05:53 pm IST

Published - February 05, 2023 05:06 pm IST - New Delhi

Image for representative purpose only.

Image for representative purpose only. | Photo Credit: PTI

India has witnessed a nearly six-fold increase in the total number of voters since 1951 to over 94.50 crore this year, but almost one-third of them stayed away from exercising their franchise in the last Lok Sabha polls.

This has prompted the Election Commission of India (ECI) to walk the extra mile to bring them to the polling booths.

In 1951, when the voter lists for the first general elections were prepared, India had 17.32 crore registered electors and 45.67% had turned up to exercise their franchise in the newly-born Republic.

The number of registered electors witnessed a gradual increase over the years, and so did their participation in the subsequent elections.

In the 1957 general elections, the number of registered electors was 19.37 crore and 47.74% cast their ballots to send their representatives to the Lok Sabha.

Amid talks of taking the voter turnout to 75%, the Election Commission has flagged the issue of the 30 crore voters who did not turn up at the polling booths in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Also Read | Explained | Will migrants be able to vote remotely?

People from urban areas, youth and migrants are part of the category of these 30 crore missing voters.

The EC has pointed to urban apathy in the recently-held Assembly polls on Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

For migrants who have their names in electoral lists in their home State and cannot afford to go there to cast vote due to various reasons, the poll panel has proposed remote voting technology. But it needs political consensus, followed by change in legislative framework to roll out remote electronic voting machines.

As it prepares to hold several Assembly polls this year and Lok Sabha elections early next year, the poll panel aims to push voter percentage through innovative communication strategies. 

People’s participation in the election process breached the 50% mark for the first time in the 1962 general elections when 55.42% of the 21.64 crore voters exercised their franchise.

By 2009, the total number of registered voters had zoomed to 71.70 crore but the turnout to the polling booths was only 58.21%, a marginal increase in percentage terms over 1962.

The 2014 general elections saw the turnout of voters jump to 66.44% of the 83.40 crore registered voters.

The 2019 general elections had 91.20 crore registered voters and had seen 67.40% turning up at the polling booths to cast their votes.

The total number of voters on January 1 this year stands at 94,50,25,694.

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