Over 10 voters have died amid history’s biggest election—and it’s not even halfway done

The wait of a lifetime.
The wait of a lifetime.
Image: REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika
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At least 10 Indians have died till now while trying to vote in the country’s ongoing national election.

In the southern state of Kerala, six voters collapsed at the polling stations on April 23, while two died soon after leaving. Earlier, two persons died in the state on their way to vote. On the same day, two others collapsed and died at the voting booths in the eastern state of West Bengal and Chhattisgarh in central India.

Sun-strokes as well as fatigue due to standing in long queues are suspected to be the cause of death in most cases. The youngest among the deceased was aged 44, the oldest was 84. 

Temperatures have risen steadily with the early arrival of summer in India. While maximum daily temperatures in north and central India have crossed 40°C, Kerala is sweltering due to humidity.

Kerala’s chief election officer even expressed concern over the possibility of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioning due to humidity. The election commission of India (ECI) has in the past blamed controversial EVM glitches on weather conditions.

Voting at designated polling booths in India takes place between 7am and 6pm, but is often extended to allow the voters standing in line to cast their votes.

Three of the seven phases have so far been completed in history’s biggest election in which around 900 million voters are expected to take part from April 04 to May 19.

Read Quartz’s coverage of the 2019 Indian general election here.