BREAKING: Senate Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Update the Electoral Count Act

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and 14 cosponsors introduced the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation to update the outdated law from 1887 that outlines procedures for casting and counting Electoral College votes in presidential elections.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Trevor Potter, founder and president of Campaign Legal Center and Republican Former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission, issued the following statement:  

“We thank Sen. Collins and the bipartisan working group for introducing this vital proposal, and we urge Congress to pass it without delay. The introduction of this bipartisan legislation represents months of tireless work by experts spanning the political spectrum to develop necessary and commonsense updates to the Electoral Count Act. While there is much more work to be done to protect elections and voters at the state and federal level, this bill provides critical safeguards for the results of presidential elections.  

“The next presidential election could be one of the most contentious in history, and it should be decided by voters, not partisan politicians. As we saw following the 2020 election, bad actors egregiously attempted to exploit the old language in the Electoral Count Act to throw out key states’ certified presidential election results. This kind of blatant manipulation threatens the democracy we cherish as Americans. The good news is that Congress has the power to update the Electoral Count Act and bring it into the 21st century. CLC strongly urges Sens. Schumer and McConnell to move on this bipartisan proposal to protect the will of the people.” 

Background on the Electoral Count Act: 

Following the 2020 election, partisan actors attempted to exploit loopholes in the Electoral Count Act (ECA). While attempts to reject state-certified election results and overrule the will of voters were unsuccessful, gaps and ambiguities remain in the ECA and are ripe for manipulation.  

In 2021, CLC convened constitutional experts from across the country and representing all political viewpoints to determine important updates to modernize the ECA. Some of the updates that these experts felt were necessary are included in the bill introduced today:   

  1. Prohibiting state legislatures from overruling their own voters.

  2. Resolving disputes about electors and electoral votes before they reach Congress.

  3. Strictly limiting opportunities for members of Congress to second guess electors and electoral votes.  

  4. Clarifying the vice president’s ministerial role in the counting of electoral votes.  

A poll commissioned by Campaign Legal Center last year showed strong, bipartisan support among voters for updating the ECA. It also highlighted the serious concern held by a majority of voters (58%) that one party in Congress could try to overturn the results of an upcoming presidential election to put their own candidate in power.