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In photos: Why voters in India have to give officials the finger as the election begins

Indians begin voting today, and voters' fingers are marked with indelible ink to guard against voter fraud. With 814 million eligible voters, India votes in stages over the next five weeks in a staggered approach made necessary by the country’s vast size.

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An Indian election applies an indelible ink mark on the finger of a Mishing tribal woman voter during the first phase of elections at Misamora Sapori, an island in the River Brahmaputra in the northeastern Assam state, India, Monday, April 7, 2014.

Anupam Nath/AP

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A woman shows her ink-marked finger after casting her vote at Makum village in Tinsukia district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam April 7, 2014.

RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI/REUTERS

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An Indian election officer applies an indelible ink mark on the finger of a woman during the first phase of elections in Dibrugarh, in the northeastern state of Assam, India, Monday, April 7, 2014.

Altaf Qadri/AP

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An Indian election worker applies an indelible ink mark on the finger of a Mishing tribal woman voter during the first phase of elections at Misamora Sapori, an island in the River Brahmaputra in the northeastern Assam state, India, Monday, April 7, 2014.

Anupam Nath/AP

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An Indian woman displays her indelible ink mark on her finger after casting her vote outside a polling station during the first phase of elections in Dibrugarh, in the northeastern state of Assam, India, Monday, April 7, 2014.

Altaf Qadri/AP

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A woman shows her ink-marked finger after casting her vote at a polling station in Majuli, a large river island in the Brahmaputra river, Jorhat district, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam April 7, 2014.

ADNAN ABIDI/REUTERS

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A woman shows her ink-marked finger after casting her vote as others line up to cast their ballot at a polling station in Nakhrai village in Tinsukia district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam April 7, 2014.

RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI/REUTERS

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