(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 26--SALEM -- Lawmakers on Wednesday shelved legislation that would have required the Oregon Secretary of State's office to study the feasibility of Internet voting.
Senate Bill 1515 came under intense criticism from opponents who cited the state's questionable track record of information technology projects and the Feb. 4 hack of the Secretary of State's website. The agency's business and elections databases returned online last weekend after a nearly three-week outage.
Sen. Bruce Starr, R-Hillsboro, sponsored the bill and voted for it when it passed the Senate on Feb. 20. But on Wednesday, he asked the House Rules Committee to kill the bill.
"I think the timing of this particular bill is interesting in that it came about at about the same time the Secretary of State's website got hacked, so what I would suggest perhaps is that for the time being, that we let this idea of even studying Internet voting rest," Starr told committee members. "I wasn't afraid to ask the question, but as we look at the circumstances that we're in the middle of here in the state of Oregon, it's probably not the right time."
Starr said the idea came from his travels last summer to Estonia, where citizens use the Internet to vote, obtain business permits and complete other every day transactions.
Committee members noted that Secretary of State Kate Brown could choose to conduct the study even if the bill doesn't pass. Brown's spokesman, Tony Green, said agency officials have yet to discuss that possibility.
-- Yuxing Zheng
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