India's national elections are an even more complex undertaking, often lasting up to two months from the start of voting till ballots are counted and the results announced.
This is done partly to provide adequate security at polling booths, to prevent vote rigging, a practice that was rampant in much of rural – and sometimes urban – India for decades.
Though it doesn't deal with the issue directly, Milan Vaishnav's new book, When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics, helps explain why India takes such extraordinary steps to protect its voting processes.
The world's largest democracy, it turns out, has a government full of men – and occasionally women – who are steeped in and emerging from the world of crime. What's curious is that the crimes many Indian politicians are accused of are not white-collar crimes like corruption or bribery, but serious offenses like murder, kidnapping, arson, banditry, rapes and more.
Yet voters keep electing them and parties keep choosing them as their candidates. In 2014, some 34 percent of India's members of parliament faced criminal cases; 21 percent faced serious ones."
Read article by Nishant Dahiya from NPR.