The previous election, to the 14th legislative assembly, was conducted 13 April 2011 and its term would have naturally expired on .
The election to the 16th legislative assembly was organised and conducted by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and was held in a single phase on .
There were over 5.79 crore voters in the electoral rolls and 65,616 polling stations in Tamil Nadu.
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On 12 February 2016, Election Commission of India announced that 17 assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu will have Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines attached along with EVMs.
At the 2011 India census, Tamil Nadu had a population of 7,21,47,030.
A total of 1,44,38,445 people constituting 20.01% of the total population belonged to Scheduled Castes (SC) and 7,94,697 people constituting 1.10% of the population belonged to Scheduled tribes (ST).
To ensure that the electorate exercise their right to vote, the Election Commission of India launched their own campaign in Tamil Nadu.
The Chief Electoral Officer for the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, Rajesh Lakhoni, utilised social media platforms by creating memes and tweets themed around films, which have a huge reach in Tamil Nadu.