By Nancy Pasternack
sentinel staff writer
SANTA CRUZ — State Sen. Debra Bowen ventured onto Bruce McPherson's home turf Saturday to let voters know she's gunning for his job.
The tech-savvy legislator, D-Marina del Rey, spoke to a group of 20 Santa Cruz Democrats in the basement of the Veterans Hall about inconsistencies and a lack of security in American and California voting systems.
"You cannot maintain a democracy where a significant number of people have doubts about the legitimacy of an election," Bowen said. She criticized Secretary of State McPherson for certifying on Feb. 17 voting systems made by Diebold Election Systems of Canton, Ohio, whose CEO made campaign contributions to the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign.
"This is not a company we ought to be doing business with," she said.
Conflicts of interest, she said, abound throughout the voting system, including the ways in which ballots are processed, counted and verified, and in partisan oversight of the system.
Last year, Bowen authored Senate Bill 370, which calls for a "verifiable paper trail" for all voting machines used in California.
She was the first California legislator to post her own government Web site and to provide online access to information about contributors to her election campaigns.
Karen Darling, former president of the Santa Cruz Democratic Women's Club, was among those in attendance Saturday.
"I'm from Illinois and she Bowen is from Illinois — we both know all about voter fraud," she said, referring to several notorious cases in and around Chicago in the 1960s and '70s.
Bowen's appearance was sponsored by Democracy for America, which formally endorsed her campaign last week. County Treasurer and Tax Collector Fred Keeley introduced and expressed support for the 12-year veteran legislator.
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