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Booth capturing is a type of electoral fraud in which party loyalists or hired criminals "capture" a polling booth and vote in place of legitimate voters to ensure that a particular candidate wins. Though it is a kind of voter suppression, unlike other forms of voting fraud, booth-capturing is a malpractice witnessed mainly in India and the least subtle of all. There are many instances that the people do not come openly to vote. In a broad point of view it can described as village capturing or area capturing. It is a general rule that agents of every contesting candidates will be present at the booth. But in many areas they are threatened or beaten, as a consequence they leave the polling premises. ECI has a general abbreviation that only giving one or half section CPMF is enough to prevent the incidents. But the new practice is that the many goons of a political party is used to threaten the voters before one or two weeks ago and they create an atmosphere of terror in those areas, so that the many voters do not come up to vote openly. The first instance of booth capturing in India was recorded in the 1957 General Elections in Rachiyahi, in Begusarai District's Matihani assembly seat. The word came into prominent use in the media during the late 1970s and 1980s when the number of parties and candidates multiplied. This resulted in some Parties using underhand methods including booth capturing, especially in the rural hinterland of India.
In 1989 the Representation of the People Act, 1951 was modified to include booth capturing as an offense punishable by law and countermanding or adjourning any poll that was booth captured. The development of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was also intended to make it harder for booth capturers to stuff the ballot boxes with their votes by enabling a five-minute delay between each vote entered as against hundreds of votes in the same time using ballot papers (stamped by a group of 3–4). The EVMs also possess a "close" button which can be used by the polling officer to deactivate the machines. Despite this, booth capturing continues to happen, albeit at a much reduced rate.
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