Senate group moves to rewrite Electoral Count Act

The effort follows the contentious 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot

Updated: July 20, 2022 - 4:50pm

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A bloc of Republican and Democratic Senators on Wednesday proposed legislation to revise the Electoral Count Act, making it more difficult for legislators to challenge election results from their states.

Led by moderate Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a group of 16 senators issued a joint statement.

“From the beginning, our bipartisan group has shared a vision of drafting legislation to fix the flaws of the archaic and ambiguous Electoral Count Act of 1887,” they said, per the New York Times.

“Through numerous meetings and debates among our colleagues as well as conversations with a wide variety of election experts and legal scholars, we have developed legislation that establishes clear guidelines for our system of certifying and counting electoral votes for president and vice president," they said.

The proposal would assert that the vice president possesses no discretion over the results and impose tight restrictions on challenging any state's electors, according to the NYT.

The effort follows the contentious 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot during which supporters of President Donald Trump sought to block Congressional certification of the election.

Trump's campaign challenged the results in many swing states, but focused particularly on claims of mass voter fraud in Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

Vice President Mike Pence, who as president of the Senate presided over Congressional certification, became the object of Trump's ire for refusing to stop the process. The Wednesday proposal would clarify that the vice president has no power to do so.

Collins and Manchin have not yet gained the necessary 10 Republican votes to overcome a filibuster, should all Senate Democrats back the legislation, but already have the support of eight other Republicans aside from Collins, the NYT reported.