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  • Writer's pictureNishtha Sehgal

The Voter’s Dilemma - Elect or Reject

According to Times of India, in the 2019 Indian general election, approximately 912 million people were eligible to vote, and the voter turnout was over 67%, the highest ever recorded in Indian elections.   This year,  the number of voters participating in the first five phases of the Indian general election is approximately 270 million. This, in absolute terms, represents an increase of around 2.5 crore (25 million) more voters compared to the same point in the 2019 election. These staggering numbers highlight the incredible scale and importance of voting in India, a country where every vote can influence the future of over a billion people. 

It's not just India - 2024 is a make-or-break year for democracies worldwide. Globally, more voters than ever in history will head to the polls as at least 64 countries (plus the European Union)—representing a combined population of about 49% of the people in the world—are meant to hold national elections, the results of which, for many, will prove consequential for years to come. So, what drives such a massive and diverse population to the polls, and how do they decide whom to vote for?

This week, I, along with my sister Avantika, went out on the streets to find out how people decide who to vote for. With the elections currently underway, we were curious to understand the factors influencing voters' choices. Let's hear what they had to say.

Through my conversations with the public (both on and off the record), here are some other factors that influence people’s decisions. 

Personal beliefs and values play a significant role.

People often vote for candidates or parties that share their views on key issues like healthcare, education, the economy, and social justice. If a politician’s ideas match their own beliefs, they are more likely to get their vote.

Secondly, party loyalty seemed to be a strong influence.

Some people always vote for the same political party, perhaps because they trust the party’s track record or because their family has always supported that party. 

Additionally, a candidate’s personality and character matter.

Voters look at a candidate’s honesty, leadership qualities, and likability. If they find a candidate trustworthy and charismatic, they are more likely to vote for them.

Current issues and events also greatly influence voting decisions.

For example, during an economic crisis, voters might prefer a candidate who has strong economic policies. Media and campaigns further shape opinions through television, social media, newspapers, and advertisements. Campaigns use these platforms to highlight their strengths and their opponent’s weaknesses.

Lastly, some people were greatly influenced by the opinions of family and friends.

People often discuss politics in their social circles and are influenced by the views of those they trust. Endorsements from well-known people or organizations can also impact voter choices. When trusted leaders or celebrities endorse a candidate, it can sway public opinion.

Regardless, whether it’s personal beliefs, party loyalty, or the influence of the media, understanding what drives our choices can lead to a more thoughtful and engaged electorate. Every vote counts, and making an informed choice is a powerful way to contribute to the future of our societies.

Written by Nishtha and Avantika Sehgal

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