Senators Drafting Bipartisan Reforms to Electoral Count Act
Do you support or oppose bipartisan efforts to reform the Electoral Count Act?
What’s the story?
- A bipartisan group of senators led by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are drafting a bill to reform the Electoral Count Act (ECA) of 1887 in an effort to remove ambiguities in the process for counting and certifying the electoral results so that they can’t be exploited in an effort to reverse the results of a presidential election.
- Lawmakers are considering reforms which would clarify that the vice president’s role in presiding over Congress’s certification of electoral votes is merely ceremonial and they lack the authority to change results; in addition to increasing the threshold by which challenges to electoral results can be raised, which currently just requires one lawmaker each in the House and Senate to object to force votes on the matter in both chambers.
- Such challenges have been brought up on several occasions following recent elections, most recently on January 6, 2021, when some House and Senate Republicans objected to electoral results in Arizona and Pennsylvania at the behest of then-President Donald Trump, who made false claims of widespread election fraud. The electoral certification was interrupted by pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol and were angry at Vice President Mike Pence for refusing Trump’s request that he overturn the election results. When the joint session of Congress reconvened, those challenges were ultimately rejected by broadly bipartisan votes in both chambers.
- Democrats raised objections to results when the electoral certification occurred following GOP victories in 2001, 2005, and 2017, but were only successful in forcing a vote to contest the Ohio election results in 2005 that would’ve resulted in Democratic nominee John Kerry winning the presidency. That challenge was also rejected with bipartisan support in both chambers.
- It’s unclear how quickly the group, which includes at least 16 senators, will agree to the final legislative text of the package and put it forward for consideration. Manchin told reporters on Monday that the bill is “on a hot track” and could be released “pretty quick.” Collins indicated that the group’s plan is to send the bill to the Senate Rules Committee and added she has kept Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO) informed about the bill.
- Additional election-related provisions may be tacked onto the bill before it reaches the Senate floor, including protection for election workers and officials, voting practices and rights, and the Election Assistance Commission; although it’s unclear what will have enough bipartisan support to be included.
Which senators are involved?
- Aside from Manchin, Democrats involved in the effort include Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Mark Warner (D-VA).
- Aside from Collins, Republicans involved in the effort include Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Steven Daines (R-MT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
What they’re saying
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Republican Whip John Thune (R-SD) have signaled support for the bipartisan effort. McConnell said he’s “happy to take a look at what they come up with” because the Electoral Count Act “clearly is flawed.” Thune added:
“The role of the vice president needs to be clarified, so it’s clear what that is… There’s some question about how many senators or House members it ought to take to object before it triggers a vote.”
- On the anniversary of the January 6th riot, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the Senate floor that reforming the Electoral Count Act without passing Democrats’ partisan election reform bills in tandem “is unacceptably insufficient and even offensive”:
“Some say the answer lies in doing the bare minimum, like reforming the Electoral Count Act that my friend the Republican Leader has floated in recent days. Let me take this opportunity to make clear that that plan, the McConnell Plan, that’s what it is, is unacceptably insufficient and even offensive. Scorekeeping matters little if the game is rigged.”
- Despite his previous strong criticism of the bipartisan effort to reform the Electoral Count Act, Schumer is reportedly now open to allowing that plan or a similar Democrat-led effort to get a vote after the broader, partisan election reforms stalled in the Senate. Schumer called Electoral Count Act reforms “fine” in an interview but said the Democrats’ more ambitious bills would have a greater impact on 2022.
- Former President Donald Trump released a statement Sunday in which he repeated his false claims and insisted that Vice President Pence had the ability to change the presidential election results during the certification process:
“If the Vice President (Mike Pence) had “absolutely no right” to change the Presidential Election results in the Senate, despite fraud and many other irregularities, how come the Democrats and RINO Republicans, like Wacky Susan Collins, are desperately trying to pass legislation that will not allow the Vice President to change the results of the election? Actually, what they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!”
- Collins responded to Trump’s comments on Monday, telling reporters:
“President Trump’s comments underscored the need for us to revise the Electoral Count Act because they demonstrated the confusion in the law and the fact that it is ambiguous.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Elisank79)
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We must stop voter suppression. Stop fixing imaginary problems and make states have fair and easy voting for Americans. We must protect the right to vote and our democracy.
I have to repeat the words of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the Senate floor that reforming the Electoral Count Act without passing Democrats’ partisan election reform bills in tandem “is unacceptably insufficient and even offensive”:
Get rid of it.
Avoiding one repetition of Trump’s coup attempt.
This is needed to avoid a real coup from happening. We came close. Let's not let anyone actually pull it off. I hope Republicans and Democrats can put away their petty squabbles to actually do something positive.
My Republican legislators will not vote with Democrats for ANYTHING. If it doesn't line their pockets they will work to make sure nothing passes. Most Republicans think we, the average person who votes every time, don't count period.
I support efforts to reform the electoral vote act but it must include crucial voters reforms as well. I agree with Schumer that we must be sure that the McConnell version doesn’t pass. Thanks for the recap Leslie.
Please support bipartisan electoral reform. Thank you Nicholas 59427
Since the bill is supposedly bipartisan, are the GOP going to do with this like they did with police reform. Have no trust or faith in any GOP to do the right thing
Collins and Manchin leading the reform of the Electoral Count Act? Is that a bad joke??? Collins won’t condemn Trump for his actions and she is in total lockstep with lunatic Republicans. Manchin is a Republican masquerading as a Democrat. AND those are the two politicians who are going to reform the EC Act? Maybe we can get Putin to help them!
They should have voted for the original voting rights bills. Manchin stated he doesn't want to carve it out but you can be sure they will carve up these voting rights bills to their paymasters likings. Each had a chance to do the right moral and ethical thing in the first place and as usual they failed miserably. That goes for Sienama who received gop backed dark $ also for her sold out coiffures along with every gop/gqp spineless inserectionists. Absolutely no props from me for failing to do what was right and just for our democracy to begin with then try to make it appear as if their going through the motions for anything worthy of equitable voting rights for all. Meanwhile states along with the courts are continuing to systematically take these rights away further diminishing our majority voices to those of a money monopolied few. These people deserve scorn not an once of any praise for their false faulty appearance of doing anything for our rights or democracy. I'm not buying it. Forgiveness is repentance an honest acknowledgement of wrong doing, a change of behaviors and heartfelt restitution. None of which any have shown or sewn.
Collins and Manchin are poor leadership alternatives. And that is Your US senate, small s, with a do nothing Republican cowardice and a bare majority Democratic Party. We are left with these two foot draggers. Elect more Democrats and make this sausage making weakness irrelevant as they should be
I agree with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who said, as I quote from the description where his is quoted 'reforming the Electoral Count Act without passing Democrats’ partisan election reform bills in tandem “is unacceptably insufficient and even offensive'. that alone is not reason not to act. We should pass this, then also pass the other voting protections that have passed the House to protect our democracy. Bipartisan if we can, but any way we must, to defend our way of government.
The devil os in the details
I would love to see an end to the Electoral Votes altogether, however I will take getting any ambiguity out of the process. Murkowski and Manchin, though? What’s their angle?
We are a democrat republic that people think there is ambiguity in the process of the vote is just plain sad.
Although it seems clear that VP Pence had no power to change the Electoral College vote, the prospect of drawn-out challenges and the lack of public understanding make the passage of this bi-partisan Electoral Count Act advisable. Once "the Fat Lady Sings," the electoral process should be completed by a merely ceremonial recording of the votes.
To John "the commie" and other mentally challenged libs that don't fully understand and/or appreciate the purpose of the electoral college - try extricating yourselves from your hip, crime-ridden, overtaxed shitholes. Maybe then you'll understand why rural living folks don't share your screwed up ideals, policies and perspectives. But above all, don't move to our rural areas unless you've deprogrammed from your idiotic and failed philosophy. Your position suggests that you're comfortable with 2 or 3 states deciding not only the outcome of elections but the future of the entire country if you support dismantling the electoral college. How intellectually lazy of you.
Proposal to endorse removing Cheney and Kinzinger from House GOP Conference gets more than 50 RNC co-sponsors These 50 traitors should be banished from all public positions if this is TRULY America Shame on congress Shame on scotus & judiciary
The Electoral College was a last minute compromise to the Southern States before the Constitution was initially finished. It’s time to remove this antiquated, and very non-functional, process. For those who support keeping the EC, please look through the windshield and not a 247 year old rear mirror.