Editorial Roundup: Passage of electoral count reform needed
Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Time is running out for Congress to pass the Electoral Count Reform Act, which will clarify that there can be no changing of votes or unduly halting the process of certifying a legitimate presidential election.
The bipartisan measure passed the House in September and has bipartisan support in the Senate. But, as is typical with easy things in Washington, D.C., there appears to be undue delays. However, both Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell support the measure.
The reform legislation would specify that the vice president has no power to change the vote and would require a higher number of House members and senators to challenge the vote count. The current law only requires one person from each house.
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It would also provide a legal remedy if a state didn’t lawfully certify its votes and would not allow states to change rules after an election has been held.
With time running out on the lame duck Congress, the bill must pass on its own or be attached to the omnibus spending bill that will keep the country running. Sen. Amy Klobuchar passed the bill out of her Senate Rules Committee on a nearly unanimous vote. She and bill author Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, say they believe it will pass with the omnibus spending bill. But nothing is ever certain in Washington.
The legislation was prompted by the attempt of then-President Donald Trump to stop the certification of the presidential vote by pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to stop the certification. Trump argued that Pence could unilaterally disallow electoral votes under the Electoral Count Act.
And there is just enough ambiguity in the 1887 law that there remains a real threat it could be subverted.
Opponents, mostly Trump loyalists, have argued it’s not necessary and should not be a priority of Congress. Nothing could be further from the truth. The American public must pay attention to this important business and urge their representatives to pass the reform act.
It’s important to pass the bill now before the new Congress convenes. A new Republican-led House is not likely to approve the changes.
There is nothing more important to American democracy than a free and fair vote. The Electoral Count Reform Act will ensure the presidential election remains fair, consistent with the Constitution and, most importantly, reflect the will of the people.
— Mankato Free Press, Dec. 16