How much is your vote worth?

Today we are a bit off topic from our usual technical blogs and the reason is because there are elections going on in India. The elections in Karnataka concluded a few days back and the turnout was poor. The reason for this is not because there is a shortage of educated socially aware individuals in KA but due to the fact that the majority of the population is concentrated in the urban areas of Bangalore. Due to the long weekend and the fact that a large number of registered voters are actually from other states (who took the opportunity to go home for the week) the turnout was poor. Anyway this got us thinking about how much a vote is worth in today’s socio economic conditions. Some questions we wanted to answers for were things like, is your vote worth more if your educated or male or resident in a particular state. Naturally the actually calculation would be worth a series of blogs but we tried to reduce it to its base elements the reason being we are not looking for a precise number as much as a general indication.

Using sources like the national census board and the parliament website as well as others such as new articles we arrived at the below points.

We found if you are voting from any of these state your contribution to the Lok Shaba is less than 1 per cent.

Lakshadweep

Daman and Diu

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Sikkim

Arunachal Pradesh

Goa

Chandigarh

Mizoram

Puducherry

Manipur

Meghalaya

However while you might have low representation in the LS , your vote commands a significantly higher value compared to other state since the low population base means fewer people need to vote per seat if you’re from these states.

On the other hand a state like UP with 15% representation affords less value to the single vote due to the large population in the state.

Also a state like Kerala is adequately represented in the LS with a share of 4% and a not too high voter base per seat ratio. We are also seeing that voter turnout especially in states with high literacy rates and sex ratios are significantly better than others. Union territories like CHD and DEL have very high voter bases in Urban areas but it might be too much effort considering their poor representation in LS vs the population for parties to actively target these areas.

We noticed that with exception to a few states the vote of the women voter is worth more than the male vote due to higher turnout and lower sex ratio within the population. We noticed that while educated sections of the population are voting more they are still not represented accurately in the number of seats available. Meaning an educated vote means less in the grand scheme of things.

We also see that states with an urban population of less than 25% account for nearly 40% of the seats in parliament. Which means the poorer section of society is being represented properly in LS in number of seats but their overall power is diluted due to the population.

So what does this mean, put simply if you come from a poor state or a state with a low population your vote doesn’t count for much because in the former you population is significantly high to dilute the impact of a single vote and in the latter the single vote while more powerful doesn’t have enough bang in the parliament.

If you’re from the below states your vote has just the right balance of literacy, representation and population to make it worth your while to vote but not really influence things at a national level.

Kerala

Odisha

Karnataka

Assam

Gujarat

Jharkhand

Madhya Pradesh

Rajasthan

So is the urban vote worth more? NO we have around 50 out of a total 543 seats in Urban. Secondly in any state the rural population easily out numbers the urban populations except Union Territories.

In states where there is a low population the Urban and rural vote doesn’t make much of a difference, in states where there is a large population we see that the rural vote is more represented usually by a factor of 1.5 or more.

In the below states the Rural population is much more represented than the Urban and in turn due to the higher number of seats in parliament these states poor are more represented than those in other states.

Bihar

Uttar Pradesh

West Bengal

Rajasthan

Madhya Pradesh

We also see that due to the poor sex ratio women voter generally have higher power compared to males purely in terms of the vote. However this factor is significantly dependent on the literacy rate of the state as well as the wealth of the state. Meaning women voters in backward states fare worse compared to women voters in progressive states even if they are educated.

Finally this election will be decided by the women and the poor of India more than the Urban middle class.

Disclaimer:- This blog is not meant to be political commentary or an analysis of the outcome of the election it is simply the thoughts put together after a bit of research to answer some basic questions of a few individuals as voters.

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