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House panel formed to probe election irregularities, voting rights violations

House Democrats are reviving a subcommittee focused on elections and have handed the gavel to Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio. The former Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman tells USA Today she plans to hold field hearings this spring to investigate potentially flawed 2016 elections procedures and suspected voting rights violations in her home state as well as Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota and Texas.

Democrats in those states and civil rights and voting rights groups have pointed to excessively long lines caused by inadequate voting machine supplies, mysterious machine malfunctions, premature poll closings and the purging of thousands of voters off registration rolls.

Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois will serve as the top Republican on the panel, part of the House Administration Committee. It plans to complete the hearings in June, with members of the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees participating, and issue a final report by fall. Fudge said her goal was to create a record of evidence to support a rewrite of a core section of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court five years ago. That section requires states and other jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination to get advance permission from the Justice Department before making any election law changes.

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