US elections: Work in progress

(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images).
(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

By Amit Roy

THE United States of America may be the most powerful country in the world but compared to India, its system of democra­cy does seem to be a work in progress.

American and British correspondents gushed that turnout in the 2020 US presi­dential election was the highest for over a century. In a country with 239.2 million people eligible to vote, the turnout was 66.9 per cent, the highest since 1900 when it was 73.7 per cent.

I looked up the figures for India and discovered that in the 2019 general elec­tion, with 911 million Indians eligible to vote, the turnout was 67.36, one per cent more than in 2014. This is remarkable giv­en the level of poverty, illiteracy and a large rural population in India.

What is also remarkable is the speed with which the votes are counted in India, where losers accept the result without go­ing through the “I was robbed” routine.

Americans also have this baffling elec­toral college which interposes an unneces­sary barrier between the voter and their choice of president.

This is only partly a joke, but perhaps the Americans should hand over the run­ning of their elections to India because they seem unable to do it themselves.