We study the electrohydrodynamic stability of the interface between two superposed viscous fluids in a channel subjected to a normal electric field. The two fluids can have different densities, viscosities, permittivities and conductivities. The interface allows surface charges, and there exists an electrical tangential shear stress at the interface owing to the finite conductivities of the two fluids. The long-wave linear stability analysis is performed within the generic Orr–Sommerfeld framework for both perfect and leaky dielectrics. In the framework of the long-wave linear stability analysis, the wave speed is expressed in terms of the ratio of viscosities, densities, permittivities and conductivities of the two fluids. For perfect dielectrics, the electric field always has a destabilizing effect, whereas for leaky dielectrics, the electric field can have either a destabilizing or a stabilizing effect depending on the ratios of permittivities and conductivities of the two fluids. In addition, the linear stability analysis for all wavenumbers is carried out numerically using the Chebyshev spectral method, and the various types of neutral stability curves (NSC) obtained are discussed.