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DiFi to chair e-voting hearing next week

feinstein.jpgOn the heels of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s announcement Thursday that his state is preparing to dump all its electronic voting machines in favor of scannable paper ballots, U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has announced she’ll chair a hearing next week on “The Hazards of Electronic Voting — Focus on the Machinery of Democracy.”

The hearing at 10 a.m. EST next Wednesday in the Russell Senate Office Building will focus on voting systems’ security and auditability, with an emphasis on reported problems in the 2006 federal elections, Feinstein’s news release said.

“One-third of voters cast their ballots in the 2006 midterm election using new electronic voting machines, and problems arose in various jurisdictions throughout the country. The most serious problem occurred in Sarasota, Florida, where there were 18,000 undervotes in the Congressional election and officials have been unable to account for what happened to these votes because there is no independent record,” she said in the release. “We must do everything we can to restore confidence in the outcome of elections by helping to ensure that every vote cast by an American eligible voter is recorded accurately.”

Scheduled to testify are California Deputy Secretary of State Lowell Finley; Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/Clerk Conny McCormack; U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; Rep. Rush Holt, D-NJ; Kennesaw State University Professor Emeritus Brit Williams; Rice University Professor Dan Wallach; Vote Trust USA Policy Director Warren Stewart; Election Consulting Services President Connie Schmidt; and Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.