The Indian and the US democracies are two of the largest democracies in the world. While the subcontinental system is just about 70 years old, the United States version has been in action for nearly 240 years. These systems basically mean that the citizens of the respective nations have a major say over who comes into power and how they approach their policies. However, one of the most prominent part of these two democracies is that of the election systems they have in place.
In fact, one can safely say that except for the countries having a democracy, there’s little to no similarities between their electoral systems. So, what are the major differences between the two systems? That’s what we are here to tell you.Read on to find out.
If you’ve followed the recent US elections carefully, you’d know that the United States has two prominent parties that have the most power, both in terms of reach and popularity. These parties are the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, both of which are built on a specific ideology. Although, there are other parties like the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, they are mostly considered to be the outliers and are commonly referred to as independent entities.
With the Indian system, however, there aren’t many parties that are known to people around the nation. While the Congress Party takes the mettle for being the most popular party, the Bharatiya Janata Party comes a close second in terms of reach. Apart from these two, India is riddled with countless other regional parties which often differs from one state to the other. For instance, in Tamil Nadu, both BJP and Congress have no reach whatsoever as the state is dominated by regional parties like AIADMK and DMK among others. However, most of these parties don’t adhere to a specific ideology and form policies based on the general population’s response, their needs, and requirements.
Both the nations have a robust voting system in place, however the US system is a lot more flexible and advanced when compared to that of India. For instance, the US offers plenty of methods to cast a vote such as voting at poll booths on poll day, absentee voting through mail, early voting in person. In India, on the other hand, the only way to vote is by furnishing a valid voter ID, choose a candidate on the Electronic Voting Machine, and get inked. Also, scanning and counting of votes are done in more or less the same way in both countries.
India and US both have autonomous election bodies which take up the responsibility for hosting the elections. In the case of the US, it has two federal bodies called the Federal Election Commission and US Election Assistance Commission (EAC). However, these entities don’t have the liberty to exert control as their role is mostly confined to setting up campaign finance regulations. On the other hand, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has a larger power to yield, wherein it deals with setting up elections, counting votes, setting up financial regulations, enlisting the service of police of domestic military forces to keep the voting process as incident-free as possible.
India boasts of a much larger voter turnout when compared to the United States. For instance, here’s how the statistics stand from the latest national elections in both the countries. During the recently concluded elections, US saw a turnout of just 61.8% when compared to 66.8% in India. Also, voter demographic in the US is primarily older people above the age of 65 who vote 25% more than that of the 18-24 age group.
Going by this information, we can safely conclude that India and the US have more to learn from each other. For instance, the US needs to engage its youth a little more while India needs to step out of the stone age and make voting more accessible for people.