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The first order of business for the Senate Rules Committee, under its new Republican majority and new chairman, Charles McC. Mathias of Maryland, will be a full-dress set of hearings on the widely perceived shortcomings of the 1980 presidential election system.

Prime targets: the length of the campaign, the patchwork proliferation of state nominating primaries, and the erosion of voter turnout in the West by projecting the election outcome while polls there were still open.

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The hearings -- so far open-ended and without specific legislative remedies in mind -- are ex pected to get under way in February.m

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