On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators settled on projected changes to the Electoral Count Act of 1887, the post-Civil War-era law for certifying the U.S. presidential elections that came under extreme scrutiny after the January 6 Capitol riot and former Republican President Donald Trump’s effort to upturn the 2020 election. The Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Susan Collins of Maine led the group, and the group introduced two separate proposals.
A bilateral group of US legislators reached an agreement on suggested amendments to the U.S. Electoral Count Act, thus making it tougher to tilt a certified Presidential election result. #bipartisansenators #ElectoralCountAct #Presidetialelection pic.twitter.com/j3XxSva2mv
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The first proposal would pave the way for states to submit electors, and Vice President Kamala Harris tallies the votes in Congress. Furthermore, the second would strengthen security for local and state election officials who face harassment and violence. Manchin, Collins, and the other fourteen senators said in a joint statement that from the start, the bipartisan group shared a vision of drafting a bill to fix the defects of the vague and archaic Electoral Count Act of 1887.
In addition, the group wrote that they drafted legislation that determines clear guidelines for the U.S. system of counting and certifying electoral votes. They also pressed Republican and Democratic members to support commonsense and straightforward reforms. However, with the extensive support from the group of sixteen senators, including nine GOP and seven Democratic senators, who worked surreptitiously for the last some months with the help of external experts, a severe concern is assured.
Trump Challenged the Electors
The executive director of the Democracy Program at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Matthew Weil, called the framework a crucial step in bolstering uncertainties in the Electoral Court Act. Donald Trump organized an extraordinary effort after he lost the 2020 Presidential election to challenge the electors sent from battlefield states to a joint session of Congress on January 6, when Kamala Harris oversees certification. Under the projected changes, the legislation would be updated to ensure each state governor is primarily responsible for submitting electors as a mode to protect against states sending fake or alternative elector knocks.
Additionally, the bill indicates the procedures across presidential transitions, including when the election results are debated, to ensure peaceful power transfer from one government to the next. That is another pushback to how the former president blocked Joe Biden’s administration from retrieving some data for his transition to the White House. Likewise, the summary states that the second proposal, which targets election security, would double the federal penalties to a maximum of two years in prison for people who intimidate poll watchers, election officials, candidates, or voters.