Bipartisan Poll Finds Strong Support for Updating the Electoral Count Act

Issues
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A group of people in suits, gathered around boxes, unsealing envelopes.
Congressional staff unseal envelopes from the two ballot boxes that contain 50 states and District of Columbia Electoral College votes on the floor of the House to be counted and validated at the U.S. Capitol, January 6, 2017, in Washington, DC. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

A poll commissioned by Campaign Legal Center (CLC), Protect Democracy, Issue One and RepresentUS showed strong bipartisan support for updating the Electoral Count Act (ECA), a 19th century law that provides the primary legal framework for casting and counting electoral votes, including Congress’ role in the process.

The poll highlights the serious concern that a majority of (58%) voters share that one party in Congress could try to overturn the results of an upcoming presidential election to put their own candidate in power.

It also found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of voters say they would be more likely to support updating the ECA if it was written and proposed in a bipartisan way by both Democratic and Republican members of Congress.

AGL Research, a Democratic firm, and GS Strategy Group, a Republican firm, conducted the poll.

Key Findings:

  • There is broad support for updating the ECA, with support extending across party lines.
    • After a brief description, voters support updating the ECA by a 44-point margin.
    • Voters across the political spectrum want to see the ECA updated, with 76% of Democrats, 56% of Independents and 52% of Republicans expressing their approval.
  • Most voters are concerned about a party in Congress trying to overrule the results of an upcoming presidential election.
    • 58% of voters think it is likely that a party will try to overturn the results of an upcoming presidential election to put their own candidate in power.
    • A majority of voters across party lines are concerned about this threat, including 56% of Democrats, 53% of Independents and 63% of Republicans.
  • Voters support limiting Congress’ ability to overrule state election results by a 33-point margin.
    • By a two-to-one margin, voters also believe it should be difficult for Congress to “throw out” a state’s certified presidential election results.
  • Voters want the updating of the ECA to be a bipartisan effort.
    • Nearly two thirds of voters (63%) say they would be more likely to support updating the ECA if it was written and proposed by both Democratic and Republican members of Congress.

The ECA has not been updated since it was first enacted more than 130 years ago. Currently, a loophole in the law could potentially allow the majority party in Congress to overrule the voters and throw out a state’s certified presidential election results.

The next presidential election could be one of the most contentious ever, and our election system is not ready for partisan attempts to overturn the results. We need an ECA that can protect the will of the people from those in Congress who want to stay in power because elections should be decided by voters, not partisan politicians in Congress.

Summary of Poll Findings on Updating the ECA