A Journey to the Highest Polling Station in India

“Run for cover!” a man shouted.

“Protect the machine!” another yelled as a sandstorm surged toward me.

I was standing beside two tents, pitched at 16,400 feet above sea level in a desert plateau in Ladakh, a region in northern India along the Tibetan border. It was roughly a week before the end of India’s national elections, and as the storm approached, the men—government employees working at a makeshift polling station—were scrambling to protect the electronic voting machine.

The wind ripped through the desert, gathering dust and sand, and spiraled toward the polling station. I tried to snap as many photos as I could, ignoring warnings to take cover. The dust was flying into my eyes, but this was Indian democracy in action.

Over the past six months, as India’s elections have unfolded, most of the attention has focused on the rise of Narendra Modi, the Hindu nationalist, who’s likely to emerge as prime minister when the results are announced on Friday.

But here in the world’s largest democracy, what’s most remarkable is the process itself, a monumental task in a country where close to 540 million people voted before the polls closed on Monday…read it at Vocativ.

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