Top Line

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (Vio.) and Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren (California) released legislation on Monday to clarify how Congress certifies presidential elections, setting the stage for a vote earlier this week on a bill that supporters argue comes after the election. Will stop another demonstration, as happened on January 6, 2021.

Key Facts

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presidential election reform act When Congress counts the electoral votes, the vice president has only a “ministerial” role, meaning that the vice president cannot use his power as the presiding officer to decide whether voters are legitimate— A power former President Donald Trump pushed to then-Vice President Mike Pence. to exercise last year.

Members of Congress can still object to voters, but one-third of the House and Senate (currently up from just one senator and one representative) will be required to sign, and objections will only be allowed in specific circumstances. , such as if a state casts its electoral votes illegally or chooses a candidate who is not qualified to be president.

The bill would also require states to cast their electoral votes before election day based on procedures enshrined in state law, which prohibit state lawmakers from changing their policies based on winning elections.

The bill says governors are required to certify results in their state by mid-December, and Congress must regard the slates of voters sent by governors as “conclusive”—but if a governor is in law. is violated, the court may order an officer of the other state to certify. Election.

what to see

The Presidential Electoral Reform Act could move quite quickly. house rules committee determined to take Bill on Tuesday, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Allegedly Told Last week there could be voting this week.

what we don't know

If the Presidential Electoral Reform Act is passed, it is unclear how lawmakers will settle this with the Senate's parallel efforts to revise election laws. Sense. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced a bill That overlaps with the Cheney-Lofgren bill from earlier this year but is slightly different. At least 10 Republicans have indicated support for the Manchin-Collins law, which is required to pass the Senate's 60-vote filibuster rules, but the Senate is supposedly expected To pick it up after the November midterm.

main background

Lawmakers began discussing election reforms after Trump tried to reverse his 2020 loss, a gamble that exposed weaknesses in the country's Byzantine election laws. With baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, Trump and his allies prompted swing state lawmakers to block authentication of President Joe Biden's state-level victory, a "alternative" Trump vote of voters coordinating with Republicans in some states. To send in a pro slate, pressured Republican members of Congress objected to Biden's electoral votes, arguing that Pence should refuse to count pro-Biden voters. Pence and some congressional Republicans denied the request, angering Trump and setting the stage for hundreds of Trump supporters to riot at the Capitol during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021. Legal experts widely viewed Trump's efforts as questionable. At best, but some confusion was driven by the Electoral Counts Act of 1887, which set out the process for Congress to certify the presidential race but Used to be derided As in "hopelessly incomprehensible," "insanely complicated" and "almost incomprehensible." Members of both parties have shown openness to reform and clarify the Electoral Counting Act, which itself was written in response to contesting the 1876 election.

tangent line

The push to reform the electoral process could be one of Cheney's final acts before he leaves Congress early next year, following a decisive defeat in a Republican primary last month. The staunch conservative and daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney was previously a member of the House Republican leadership, but was excommunicated by the party after it voted to impeach Trump in the January 6 riots and to investigate Trump's role in the attack. Joined a House Committee. , Since losing his primaries in August, Cheney has vowed to "do whatever happens" to prevent Trump from retaking the presidency in 2024.

amazing facts

As Congress seeks to reform election laws, the Supreme Court is currently hearing a case that could make it easier for state lawmakers to reverse the results of a presidential election. The plaintiffs in the case support a doctrine called the "independent state legislature" doctrine, which argues that the Constitution gave state lawmakers the sole power to determine election policies, establish state courts and elected officials such as secretaries of state. Gave. If the High Court favors this principle, it may allow legislatures to modify the voting rules themselves.