February 01, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Senate Majority Whip and Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) released a discussion draft of their legislation, the Electoral Count Modernization Act, which would update the Electoral Count Act of 1887. In response to the threats to our democracy since the 2020 Presidential election, this legislation seeks to establish clear, consistent, and fair procedures for the counting and certification of electoral votes for the presidency.
Earlier this week, Senators King, Klobuchar, and Durbin shared the legislation with a number of their colleagues as part of an effort to inform ongoing bipartisan negotiations in both chambers of Congress. The legislation’s draft text can be found HERE.
“Experts across the political spectrum agree that the Electoral Count Act of 1887 needs to be updated to reflect the current realities and threats facing the United States and our election process,” said the Senators. “In response, as leaders on the Senate Rules Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections and members of Senate Democratic leadership, we have been working with legal experts and election law scholars to develop legislation that would modernize the framework of the Electoral Count Act of 1887.
“With Congress reconvening after its January state work period, we thought this was the proper time to share the draft legislative text that we believe serves as a foundational outline for key reforms that address the shortcomings of the 1887 law,” King, Klobuchar, and Durbin continued. “We recognize that updating the Electoral Count Act is not a substitute for confronting the wider crises facing our democracy. We continue to support legislation to protect voting rights prior to Election Day, and strongly believe that we must clarify ambiguities in the electoral process after Election Day to truly ensure the will of the voters will prevail.
“We stand ready to share the knowledge we have accumulated with our colleagues from both parties, and look forward to contributing to a strong, bipartisan effort aimed at resolving this issue and strengthening our democracy,” the three Senators concluded.
Specifically, the Senators’ legislation would:
· Ensure that state legislatures cannot appoint electors after Election Day in an effort to overturn their state’s election results.
· Give states additional time (until December 20) to complete legitimate recounts and litigation.
· Provide limited judicial review to ensure that the electors appointed by a state reflect the popular vote results in the state.
· Clarify that the Vice President has no power to reject a state’s electors.
· Enumerate specific and narrow grounds for objections to electors or electoral votes.
· Raise the thresholds for Congress to consider objections and make it harder to sustain objections without broad support by both chambers of Congress.
Taken together, the proposed legislation would confront electoral subversion at both the state and federal levels by helping ensure that partisan politicians cannot substitute their own preferences for the judgment of the American people in presidential elections.