updated 8/15/2006 2:10:43 PM ET 2006-08-15T18:10:43

Rep. Cynthia McKinney, in her first public appearance since losing her re-election bid last week, said Tuesday that the black community needs to oppose electronic voting machines, which she said are designed to steal elections.

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McKinney also said the state of Georgia should not allow crossover voting among political parties in primary elections.

The fiery Democratic congresswoman who scuffled with a Capitol Hill police officer earlier this year and has accused the Bush administration of having advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks said she considers herself a "black political paramedic," and the "black body politic is near comatose."

McKinney made the remarks during the National Dialogue and Revival for Social Justice in the Black Church. It was sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton's group, the National Action Network.

Last week, she lost her bid for a seventh term in Congress to challenger Hank Johnson, a former DeKalb County Commissioner. Johnson defeated McKinney 59 percent to 41 percent in the Democratic runoff.

After the runoff, McKinney blamed her defeat on the media and problems with electronic voting machines.

The crowd in Augusta, estimated at fewer than 200 people, gave McKinney a standing ovation when she was introduced and again when she finished speaking.

She refused to answer reporters' questions after her speech. A woman in McKinney's entourage got between the representative and a reporter. A male bodyguard said McKinney would not take questions.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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