BILL: Electoral Count Reform Act 2022
Demand your reps take action on election reform
- jimK 09/09/2022
More than just this legislation is needed to protect the electoral process and our natioanl elections. There are powerful and well funded political forces trying to put highly partisan polical operatives into every stage of the voter registration process, vote validation, vote counting, easy access to polling stations for everyone and not just their preferred voting demographics, and of couse gerrymandering on steroids.
This legislation is a great first step, however small, but much more is needed to protect the right of evert legal citizen to vote and to have their vote be freely and fairly counted - the most fundamental tenant of any functioning democracy.
I am disgusted by the politicians, the conservative justices and the big dark money interests that are all trying to bend the election rules for their own self-serving interests.
All the move reasong to get all dark money out of any and all abilty to influence our governance in any way.
First step, vote the enablers of this dangerous trend and American travesty out of political existence - vote Blue and hold them to the aspirations we should all have to fix these damning issues that threaten the very core of our democracy.
Good 1st steps to improve the electoral college by preventing interference in the process though more is needed to better represent the majority as represented by the popular vote.
- BR 09/10/2022
I do not support as written. This is a half-ass job; needs a great deal of work. Do it right or step away.
- Brian 09/09/2022
We need to make it very clear that a free and fair election cannot be overturned by a vice president or just a few rogue members of Congress, especially when there is no evidence of widespread fraud or tampering.
Protect the vote by passing this bill.
The Electoral College, as written and designed in the Constitution of the United States, is a compromise. It was born in a time when no other country in the world directly elected its chief executive, and at a time when the representatives to the Constitutional Convention had a deep-seated distrust of executive power. The Revolutionary War had ended September 3, 1783. The Articles of Confederation had been adopted by the Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, and went into effect March 1,1781.
The representatives’ distrust of executive power resulted in a document (The Articles of Confederation) that concentrated so much power in the hands of the states that the central government was ineffectual. The central government had insufficient power to regulate commerce. It could not tax and was generally impotent in setting commercial policy. Nor could it effectively support a war effort. Congress was attempting to function with a depleted treasury; and paper money was flooding the country, creating extraordinary inflation. The states were on the brink of economic disaster; and the central government had little power to settle quarrels between states. Disputes over territory, war pensions, taxation, and trade threatened to tear the country apart.
When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation, they went far beyond their mandate, resulting in our current Constitution. The Electoral College, as part of that document, came out of several concerns and conflicts among the representatives. One group was totally opposed to letting the people directly elect the president by popular vote. Their reasons for this were 1) they believed the voters lacked the resources to be fully informed about the candidates, 2) they feared a headstrong “democratic mob” steering the country astray, and 3) they felt a populist president appealing directly to the people could command dangerous amounts of power.
Another factor involved in the compromise had to do with slavery. In 1787, approximately 40 percent of people living in the Southern states were enslaved Black people who were not allowed to vote. A direct presidential election, or one where electors were divided up according to free white residents only, wasn’t acceptable to the Southern states. James Madison, from Virginia, where 60 percent of the residents were black slaves, stated, “The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.” The result was the controversial three-fifths compromise in which three-fifths of the enslaved Black population would be counted toward allocating representatives and electors and calculating federal taxes. The compromise gave the Southern states more power than they would otherwise have and ensured that Southern states would ratify the Constitution, and gave Virginia, home to more than 200,000 slaves, a quarter (12) of the total electoral votes required to win the presidency (46).
A third, and more important issue, with the development of the Electoral College has to do with how the Founders looked at the nature and functioning of the Electors themselves.
There were no political parties in 1787. The drafters of the Constitution assumed that electors would vote according to their individual discretion, not the dictates of a state or national party. Today, most electors are bound to vote for their party’s candidate. The Constitution says nothing about how the states should allot their electoral votes. The assumption was that each elector’s vote would be counted. But over time, all but two states (Maine and Nebraska) passed laws to give all of their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote count. Any semblance of elector independence has been fully wiped out.
The Founders also assumed that most elections would ultimately be decided by neither the people nor the electors, but by the House of Representatives. According to the Constitution, if no single candidate wins a majority of the electoral votes, the decision goes to the House, where each state gets one vote. As soon as national political parties formed, the number of presidential candidates shrank. Only two U.S. elections have been decided by the House, the election of 1800 (Thomas Jefferson) and the election of 1824 (John Quincy Adams).
The Electoral College, as it was initially conceived, exhibited multiple problems. Some of these were resolved by the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, which changed the procedure for electing the president and vice-president. Under the original rules of the Constitution, each member of the Electoral College cast two electoral votes, with no distinction made between electoral votes for president and electoral votes for vice president. The presidential candidate receiving the greatest number of votes—provided that number at least equaled a majority of the electors—was elected president, while the presidential candidate receiving the second-most votes was elected vice president. In cases where no individual won a vote from a majority of the electors, as well as in cases where multiple individuals won votes from a majority of electors but tied each other for the most votes, the House of Representatives would hold a contingent election to select the president. In cases where multiple candidates tied for the second-most votes, the Senate would hold a contingent election to select the vice president. The first four presidential elections were conducted under these rules. The Twelfth Amendment stipulates that each elector must cast distinct votes for president and vice president, instead of two votes for president. Additionally, electors may not vote for presidential and vice-presidential candidates who both reside in the elector's state—at least one of them must be an inhabitant of another state.
The Electoral Count Act of 1887 (ECA) (Pub.L. 49–90, 24 Stat. 373, later codified at Title 3, Chapter 1) is a United States federal law adding to procedures set out in the Constitution of the United States for the counting of electoral votes following a presidential election. It was enacted by Congress in 1887, ten years after the disputed 1876 presidential election, in which several states submitted competing slates of electors and a divided Congress was unable to resolve the deadlock for weeks. The Act Close elections in 1880 and 1884 followed, and again raised the possibility that with no formally established counting procedure in place, partisans in Congress might use the counting process to force a desired result.
The Act aims to minimize congressional involvement in election disputes, instead placing the primary responsibility to resolve disputes upon the states. The Act sets out procedures and deadlines for the states to follow in resolving disputes, certifying results, and sending the results to Congress. If a state follows these "safe harbor" standards and the state's governor properly submits one set of electoral votes, the Act states that this "final" determination "shall govern." However, making or use of "any false writing or document" in the implementation of this procedure is a felony punishable by 5 years imprisonment by 18 U.S. Code 1001 under Chapter 47 Fraud and False Statements. The Act thus relegates Congress to resolving only a narrow class of disputes, such as if a governor has certified two different slates of electors or if a state fails to certify its results under the Act's procedures. Congress may also reject votes under the Act for other specific defects, such as ministerial error, if an elector or candidate is ineligible for office, or if the electoral college votes were not "regularly given."
The 1887 Electoral Count Act has long been lambasted by legal experts, who argue the law is poorly written, vague and antiquated.
What the Electoral Count Reform Act does is address the fundamental problems of the original bill from 1887, and many of the inadequate amendments since then. Its basic provisions are:
Mandating that rules for selecting electors in each state be made prior to Election Day,
Clarifying that the vice president’s role in overseeing the counting of the electoral votes is only ceremonial,
Raising the threshold for objections to a state’s electoral votes from just a single member of the House and Senate to 20% of both chambers,
And designating the governor as the sole state official (unless otherwise specified by state laws) responsible for submitting a certificate of electors in order to make it harder for a defeated presidential candidate to submit false electoral slates.
The bill allows the presidential candidate who lost to challenge a state’s certification of electors in federal courts on an expedited basis. Challenges would be heard by a three-judge panel with the option of a direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Under the proposal, Congress is required to count the electors submitted by the governor or, if challenged, the electors judged by a court to be valid. S. 4573 also repeals an older 1845 law that allows states to appoint electors after Election Day in case of a “failed” election. That law never defines what a failed election is.
A separate section of the bill updates the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 to allow multiple candidates to access funds and resources for their presidential transition in case of a disputed election. This came up most recently in 2020, when the Trump administration denied Biden’s campaign access to these resources for weeks after the election, but we also saw this happen in 2000 when the protracted election dispute delayed the transition and endangered U.S. national security.
This bill is not a power grab by either party. It is an attempt to strength the checks and balances of our republic and the rule of law. The fact that the bill is bipartisan is important. It is not perfect, and the whole Electoral College itself is flawed in its makeup. The states have undercut the intended functioning of the Electoral College by requiring a winner-take-all format in all but two states in how the electors of each state vote. That was not the intent of the Founders, and it subverts the intent of the Electoral College and it’s intended role as one of the checks and balances in our form of government.
Consideration needs to be given to repeal of the Electoral College, or if short of that, return to the original intent of the Electoral College. This could include forbidding States from requiring electors to vote in specific ways, divide the electors proportionally in each state by the percentage of votes received by each candidate regardless of party, and/or implement a modification of the formula of the 3/5 compromise that was used to determine the Electoral College, and implement something fairer to the One-Person One-Vote format so all votes are counted equally in Federal elections.
- PattiZ 09/08/2022
This is a JOKE! This is just the beginning of destroying our democracy, the Constitution and upholding the rule of law!
Get rid of these idiots in office before we are a third world country.
- DaveS 09/20/2022
Need to justify why there is a electoral college at all and go with the popular vote, which is what the U.S. and the United National require all other countries to due. With today's technically and information the electoral college is obsolete. For the arguments made for it, it only over rule the will of the people and tried to put in Extreme people and dictatorship. The sum of the individual are better Guidance with information and data, then a bunch of wack job of a few.
It is to easy for one party or the other to manipulate the out come when a winner takes all. It force the politician to make ever vote count!
This is a hold over from the pony express when it would take months to figure out the results, not with todays technology and information.
Trump attorneys don't want to disclose which Mar-a-Lago documents he claims to have declassified
declassified but not disclosable!?
are these the type of people who are going to lead america? Into oblivion?
gop, maga idiots, white supremacists, EVILangicals...you are drinking some Qoolaid!
all participants, fake electors must be tried and punished to the fullest extent of the law
all election deniers in public positions should be disqualified from occupying these and never allowed to run or be appointed again
shame on gop
shame on scotus
- Bhuvanesh 09/20/2022
While a lot more is needed to protect our electoral system and our democracy, the Electoral Count Act is a decent first step, and I support it.
- SamJenkins 09/18/2022
The electoral college is no longer necessary. If we are going to encourage developing nations to be democratic, then we should set an example and move from a republic to a democracy where every vote counts.
- wpeckham 09/18/2022
This is not a bill that will protect our elections, it is only a FRAMEWORK and the first step. IT does not solve every problem, bit it solves some of the worst issues that have presented themselves to us in recent elections. Refusing to take this simple single first step is to ignore a horibale existencial threat to our democracy! Pass this bill!
- DaveS 09/17/2022
A republic is a subset of a democracy, if not a subset of democratic process. If not, it's a banana republic with an fascist authoritarian dictatorship, which is now what republicans party has become!
- Lynn 09/15/2022
We need the Electoral Reform Act. We need more than the Electoral Reform Act - protection of voting rights, addressing gerrymandering - but that shouldn't stop us from passing this act. Sure, some of the things being clarified - the Vice President's role is ceremonial only - were always understood until a sore loser decided not to accept the rules. But it's important to clarify that losing candidates don't get to tell officials to overrule the vote, and that a certain point, done is done.
I don't see a maybe again...
I agree we need reforms to the electoral college and that this ERA is a good start.
But, Actually I'd like to see getting rid of the electoral college all together. The US population is educated enough to vote and their votes should be the force behind the winner. Too many odd ball rules in states and they have made it even worse of late. We can't trust SCOTUS to be fair...we can't trust governors to be fair.
The outcomes of all elections should be made directly by the voters. And the election reforms that are taking away the rights of the people should be the focus.
This suggested ERA is a small bandaid on a large open wound...not sure it will stop the infection...
- Surender 09/14/2022
Trump shares barrage of QAnon content and other conspiracy theories on his social media platform
Republicans plan to grill Gen. Mark Milley if they take back the House
Election deniers advanced to November ballots in 27 states, report finds
it takes one idiot to ruin the lives of millions - putin & xi shining examples. we have our own!
where are all the 'smart' folks who surrounded this one idiot? speak up! kelly? pompeo? pence? reince? or maybe you all are cowards or just as stupid? if clarence & gini could promote this buffoon are there any others on the bench that can refute these idiots?
sheer madness? desperation? America is at stake people!
- John 09/14/2022
Other thing that needs attended to, Lindsey Graham : The more I look at Lindsey gram's evolving behavior over the last few years the more I believe that this man is suffering from dementia. I'm serious this entire personality has changed and his point of view of politics is a polar opposite of what he used to be when he was John Cain's best buddy.
I'm quite sure John Cain wouldn't even recognize Lindsey Graham anymore, as a matter of fact as I said I don't think Lindsey Graham recognizes Lindsey Graham anymore I truly do believe he has dementia. Either that or Donald Trump has so much dirt on Lindsey Graham i.e. pictures of him doing something he shouldn't of done or whatever that ole Lindsey is jumping through every hoop he can like a little pony at the circus.
- John 09/13/2022
Why wouldn't we want everyone to vote, unless you're afraid of how the lights out in that case you may be living in the wrong country and you should probably move to North Korea. And on another note has anyone noticed that Lindsey Graham is becoming even more of a little cowardly weasel. The man is a waste of human organs.
- J2Maurice 09/13/2022
Never shall true results of democracy ever be undermined!!!
To all of the Democrats an independents an the Republicans whom care about our nation really of the oath come forth the soul of our nation an all we value is at stake Please Don't allow what former President Trump set in motion ever ever manifest nor legally skate by nor ever happen to our nation eroding truth the constitution law an nation heart never shall an insurrection of any time that swept our nation an each states that where targeted as well ever to happen again
- TheLiberalSoutherner 09/13/2022
The time for the 1% to vote for the rest of us is at an end! We both know this!!
These people want to dismantle electoral college because they really honestly think that this is going to guarantee it going to the democrats? Why don’t we make it a criminal act if you or the masses vote for republicans? JimmyK and everyone who are just angry would be voting for it. when I hear “it’s your vote.” Is It jimmyK or is it our vote when you approve of it? this whole thing is a laughable joke because was this a issue in 2008 or 12 of course not but, it was a issue only in 2000 and 2016.
@Archy, first of all, I wasn't trying to insult you, although hard not to. I was throwing Your words back at you. Because your condescending and arrogant. But I'll continue with the issue.
The founders couldn't all agree on how to implement a voting system. So a compromise was made. Granted, in the beginning it wasn't the best written one, but non the less they tried to compromise, something that's hard to find in our government today.
As it said, "One group" totally opposed to letting the people directly elect the president by a Popular Vote based on three reasons. 1) the voters lacked the resources to be fully informed about the candidates. 2) they feared a headstrong democratic mob steering the country astray and 3) they felt a populist president appealing to the people could command dangerous amounts of power. "Of which you accused Trump of."
I have to stop and ask the obvious question. If this is the case, why does the left want to solely use the popular vote. And why wouldn't the right feel the left would do the same? I think one reason is people/politicians on the left like the idea of commanding dangerous amounts of power. Not fair!
Another factor in the compromise had to do with slavery. Blacks weren't allowed to vote at that time. The right of suffrage was more extensive in the northern states. This part of the compromise gave more power to southern states than they would normally have by giving Virginia a quarter of the electoral votes.
This part makes me feel like this somehow is similar to what I've tried to say about the states in the center of the country not being heard. The population is much less in the center. Therefore being out voted, and there issues can easily be overlooked. Not fair!
The third concern was the most important to the drafters of the constitution. That was, for electors to vote their individual discretion. As time went on party's formed and states made their own laws for the electors. Which is what we have today. If electors go against the party in charge, they can get fined or even jailed. Electors Have gone against the state law and the party at times. None have ever gone to jail, that I know of, but have been fined. All but two states passed laws to give all their votes to the candidates who wins the popular vote. Those two states are Maine and Nebraska. What the Electoral Count Reform Act does is address the fundamental problems of the original bill from 1887 and inadequate amendments since then.
Mandating that rules for selecting electors in each state is made prior to the election.
Clarifying that the Vice Presidents role in overseeing the counting is only ceremonial.
Raising the threshold for objections to a states electoral votes. And designating the Governor as a sole state official responsible for submitting a certificate of electors.
The bill allows the presidential candidate who lost, to challenge on a expedited basis.
Personally, I don't want to change the way we do this. If anything was to be changed it would be to let the electors vote their discretions without any penalty. That was the founders original concern and I think that is logical. I still feel the center of the country would be overlooked. They have issues and concerns that actually would effect the whole country. One being, their one of our sources of food. Beside that, our country is to divided to decide on anything one way or the other. Neither side would trust what the other would decide.
So Archi, I've read and remembered a lot of what I learned in school, plus some. I think what I stated in the beginning was briefly what you said here. Just more in a nutshell. I still believe that for the founders to have been so concerned on this issue of voting, kept coming back to the issue and taking years to come to some kind of an agreement, you would have to think it was because they were trying to be Fair. Which is why I said this in the beginning. Therefore, they tried to Compromise. For this reason, I still think You Need Both Votes!