A bipartisan group of senators that includes nine Republicans has announced legislation to reform the Electoral Count Act and take away the path for a potential 2024 coup.
The proposal dealing with the vice president’s role would make clear that the responsibility is “solely ministerial and that he or she does not have any power to solely determine, accept, reject, or otherwise adjudicate disputes over electors.”
Provisions of the bill dealing with an orderly transition of power would make it so that it would be possible to limit resources for a transition of power to only the apparent winner of an election if the outcome of an election is clear.
The second bill is aimed at improving election security and would enhance federal penalties for anyone who threatens or intimidates election officials as well as increase penalties for the tampering with election records. The bill is co-sponsored by five Republicans and seven Democrats.
The bipartisan group of Senators who put this bill together is Sens. Senators Collins, Manchin, Portman, Sinema, Romney, Shaheen, Murkowski, Warner, Tillis, Murphy, Capito, Cardin, Young, Coons, Sasse, and Graham.
Protect Democracy counsel, Genevieve Nadeau said in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, “As the nation witnessed during the last presidential transition, our election system isn’t fully equipped to withstand partisan attempts to overturn presidential election results. For that reason we are glad that Senators filed legislation today that would fix many dangerous ambiguities in the antiquated Electoral Count Act of 1887. Importantly, ECA reforms like those proposed today will not benefit either political party, but will better safeguard the will of the voters and ensure the peaceful transition of power—a hallmark of our democracy since its founding.”
Trump’s coup almost worked because Electoral Count Act was ambiguous and not clearly defined. The other big change that the legislation makes is that it would make it more difficult for members of Congress to challenge election results.
The legislation would tighten loopholes at the federal level, and the state level by requiring states to appoint electors on Election Day, and requires Congress to count the electoral votes that the courts have determined comply with state and federal law, so there will be no slates of alternative electors, and states will not have the ability to appoint new electors.
There is more to be done to keep democracy safe at the state level, but the Electoral Count Act reform is a big step forward in making sure that there will not be another 1/6 attack in 2024.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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