The Senate’s Election Reform Bill Is Surprisingly Logical and Bipartisan
Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election sought to exploit three potential weaknesses in the legal and political mechanisms for certifying a winner.
This week, a bipartisan group of senators formerly unveiled a proposal that, if passed, would prevent a repeat attempt from succeeding where Trump failed.
But before getting into what the proposed reforms to the Electoral Count Act would accomplish, it’s probably useful to have a quick recap of how Trump (and his lawyers) attempted to undermine the existing laws, which were implemented in 1887 in response to another disputed presidential election. First, Trump pressured state election officials and state lawmakers in states where he lost, asking them to certify results showing he won. When that failed, he pressured members of Congress to object to the Electoral College results showing that Joe Biden was victorious in certain states. After that attempt didn’t get enough support to succeed, he pressured (with the help of a mob) then-Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally reject the results from supposedly disputed states.
Any one of those three plots could have resulted in Trump being declared the winner of the election on January 6, 2021—though there almost certainly would have been lawsuits asking the Supreme Court to intervene, and who knows how that would have turned out.
While a special House committee has been probing the scope of Trump’s plots and the role the former president played in the ugly events of January 6, a bipartisan group of senators led by Susan Collins (R–Maine) and Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) has been working on a fix for the procedural issues Trump’s team nearly exploited to overturn the election. This is less dramatic than what the January 6th Committee has been turning up, but it is probably the more important project for the future of American democracy.
On Thursday, the group of senators released their proposal. The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022 has a number of provisions, but the most important are aimed at those three weaknesses I’ve already recapped.
To prevent state lawmakers from meddling with the results of an election after it has been held, the law clarifies that states must certify their results in accorda
Article from Reason.com