As alarm mounts over the integrity of the ATM-like voting machines an estimated 50 million Americans are scheduled to use in education referenda, school board elections, and other vital balloting next November, a new federal panel has begun scrutinizing how to safeguard electronic polling from fraud, hackers, and faulty software.

Scientists told the panel during a May 5 hearing that electronic voting isn't completely reliable and suggested that a backup paper system might be the only way to avoid another disputed presidential election this fall.

But the commission's Republican


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