McConnell Throws His Support Behind Electoral Count Reform Act
WASHINGTON — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Tuesday that he supports the Electoral Count Reform Act, which aims to protect future elections from attempts at disruption like those that transpired at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Though he hedged slightly, saying his support would hold “provided that nothing more than technical changes are made to its current form,” McConnell’s declaration that he “proudly” and “strongly” supports the legislation is a big win for the bipartisan group of senators that negotiated its details.
The Republican leader made his remarks shortly before the Senate Rules Committee marked up the bill, which updates and strengthens the 1887 Electoral College Act.
“Congress’ process for counting the presidential electors’ votes was written 135 years ago,” McConnell said. “The chaos that came to a head on Jan. 6 of last year certainly underscored the need for an update. So did Januaries 2001, 2005 and 2017; in each of which, Democrats tried to challenge the lawful election of a Republican president.
“Obviously, in every case, our system of government won out,” he continued. “The Electoral Count Act ultimately produced the right conclusion: Certainty, finality and the transfer of power to the winning candidate. But it’s clear the country needs a more predictable path to that outcome.
“This bipartisan bill does not rashly replace current law with something untested. It keeps what’s worked well and modestly updates what has not,” McConnell said, adding, “The bill’s sponsors debated every provision and found bipartisan consensus. Bad ideas were left on the cutting room floor.
“The resulting product — this bill, as introduced — is the only chance to get an outcome and make law,” he said.
The legislation, which currently has 22 co-sponsors (11 Republicans and 11 Democrats), would clarify the vice president’s limited role in the counting of electoral votes and protect the will of the voters by better ensuring that lawful state-level determinations of election results are respected by Congress, including by raising the threshold for members of Congress to make objections.
The bill also establishes guardrails against state actors who try to disregard election results. In particular, the legislation would require states to appoint electors on Election Day except in narrow and extraordinary circumstances, such as a major natural disaster, and require Congress to count electoral votes that the courts have determined comply with state and federal law.
Shortly after McConnell spoke, the Rules Committee voted to advance the Electoral Count Reform Act on a bipartisan vote of 14-1.
Justin Goodman, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., then released a statement, saying Schumer “looks forward to continuing to have bipartisan, bicameral discussions about the best way to ensure Electoral Count Act reform legislation is signed into law soon.”
“Make no mistake: as our country continues to face the threat of the anti-democracy MAGA Republican movement — propelled by many GOP leaders who either refused to take a stand or actively stoked the flames of division in our country — reforming the Electoral Count Act ought to be the bare minimum of action the Congress takes,” Goodman said.
Genevieve Nadeau, counsel with Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan group dedicated to protecting the integrity of free and fair elections, said in a statement that the bipartisan vote to advance the Electoral Count Reform Act by the Rules Committee “underscores the momentum and cross-ideological consensus on the urgent need for Congress to update the Electoral Count Act and strengthen presidential elections in the future.”
“We applaud the Senate Rules Committee for making meaningful improvements to the ECRA, progress that complements House action on a similar reform bill last week. We now call on Congress to finish the job and pass the strongest ECA reform possible by the end of the year,” Nadeau said.
The House version of the bill, known as the Presidential Election Reform Act, was approved in a 229-203 vote last week.
Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue
In The News
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — From the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his first presidential campaign,... Read More
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — From the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his first presidential campaign, a searing question has hung over the Republican Party: Is this the moment to break from Donald Trump? Elected Republicans have wavered at times — whether it... Read More
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday that he doesn’t think people should protest if former President Donald... Read More
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday that he doesn’t think people should protest if former President Donald Trump is arrested on charges brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. On Saturday, Trump took to his Truth Social social media site to say that... Read More
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — No elected Republican has done more to restrict abortion rights in the U.S. than Donald Trump. But... Read More
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — No elected Republican has done more to restrict abortion rights in the U.S. than Donald Trump. But in the early days of the 2024 presidential contest, no Republican has worked harder to avoid the issue than the former president. Far more than his... Read More
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida election officials have been slapped with a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s 2005 “wet signature” requirement.... Read More
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida election officials have been slapped with a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s 2005 “wet signature” requirement. Since 2005, Florida has required individuals registering to vote to submit their application with an “original signature.” In a lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday,... Read More
BOISE, Idaho — Students in Idaho are suing the state after Republican Gov. Brad Little signed a bill into law... Read More
BOISE, Idaho — Students in Idaho are suing the state after Republican Gov. Brad Little signed a bill into law that removes student ID cards as an acceptable form of voter identification at polling places. In a complaint filed in the federal court in Boise by... Read More
WASHINGTON —The Metropolitan Police Department is not aware of any protests planned in the district in the wake of former... Read More
WASHINGTON —The Metropolitan Police Department is not aware of any protests planned in the district in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s “announcement” he’ll be arrested next week, but is continuing to monitor the situation, a spokesman told The Well News on Saturday afternoon. For... Read More