Patterico's Pontifications

1/5/2022

Is It Possible that the Electoral Account Act Could Be Reformed?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 pm



Yesterday I advocated, for the umpteenth time, a reform of the Electoral Count Act. Later in the day, David French published a piece for subscribers to The Dispatch advocating the same thing — something he too has discussed for a while. His piece is titled “Stop Screwing Around and Reform the Electoral Count Act” with a deck headline reading: “We’re idiots if we don’t. It’s that simple.”

He’s right. As an encouragement to get readers to subscribe to The Dispatch (I do) I will quote his central proposals:

At a minimum, what do we need to do? First, make it crystal clear that the vice president has zero discretion to reject the electoral votes of any state. His or her role should be procedural only, running the joint session of Congress that counts the Electoral College votes.

Second, a reformed Electoral Count Act should dramatically raise the threshold for objecting to the electoral votes of any state. Presently it takes just one member of the House and one member of the Senate to initiate a debate about any state. I’d like to see it take a majority of the House and a majority of the Senate to initiate debate and a supermajority of both houses to decertify any electoral votes.

Moreover, a reformed Electoral Count Act would narrowly specify the grounds for any congressional decertification. For example, if electors cast votes for a person constitutionally ineligible for the office, or if electors cast votes even if the vote has been set aside for fraud by a court of final jurisdiction. And any reform should provide precise guidance for state certifications, so that there is minimal opportunity for Congress to face so-called “competing” slates of electors.

I think that second point is key. However, Democrats seem uninterested, fixating instead on maximizing turnout of their base — and Republicans are of course hellbent on keeping the possibility of a steal alive.

. . . or are they? Axios reports this morning:

While broader federal voting rights legislation remains mired in the Senate as long as the 60-vote filibuster rule applies, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) told Axios there’s “some interest” among Senate Republicans in reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887.

  • The goal would be to clarify the role the vice president and Congress play in certifying presidential elections.
  • Both were flashpoints a year ago as Donald Trump challenged the finalization of the 2020 election results.

I guess clarifying the ceremonial role of the Vice President would appeal to Republicans who want to minimize Kamala Harris’s role. Politicians can never see past the present, after all, and under present circumstances a Democrat will preside over the next counting. But the critical part is to make it hard to raise a challenge and very, very hard to overturn certified results. Thune’s statement suggests the intriguing possibility that there could be some appetite for that.

So should we be excited? No. Chuck Schumer is shooting down the idea. “That makes no sense,” he said, according to Axios. “If you’re going to rig the game and say, “Oh, we’ll count the rigged game accurately,’ what good is that?” Idiot. Susan Collins has also weighed in saying my gosh there is no need for that as everything went fine last time. “It seems to me we have a good system for the Electoral College to act and one of the important moments of January 6 was that we returned and finished our work under that law.” Idiot.

Correction to French’s deck headline: we’re not idiots. These people are idiots.

19 Responses to “Is It Possible that the Electoral Account Act Could Be Reformed?”

  1. If the reformed act required states that conduct presidential election to awards electors solely on the basis of that state’s votes, however apportioned, you would probably get a lot of Republican interest in it.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  2. Wait. Schumer is concerned that local cheating might happen? I’ve been told repeatedly that this is unpossible.

    I agree that it is too easy to raise a challenge. 10% of each House or some such should be required.

    But I’m not sure that it is all that easy to sustain a challenge, and in any event anything over a majority is subject to a point of order and an appeal of the subsequent ruling (aka the nuclear option).

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  3. The republican party disagrees with you and neo-cons like french have been run out of the republican populist party. Corporations are quietly making donations and relationships with election winner skeptic republican congressmen for the upcoming 2022 election.

    asset (ad9a9b)

  4. @3. Poor judgement is a nutshell:

    David French voted for Joe Biden.

    =mike-drop=

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  5. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 1/5/2022 @ 12:26 pm

    Wait. Schumer is concerned that local cheating might happen? I’ve been told repeatedly that this is unpossible.

    Democrats claim that they way Republicns cheat is by preventing or discouraging people from voting. (Republican s claim it is by adding extra votes or casting people’s ballots for them)

    Meanwhile the coup ideas rest on superseding the regular counting process.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  6. Greasing the gears of an already larded up, arcane bureaucracy with more goop doesn’t seem a solution; more a recipe for the machinery of government to suffer more attacks to the heart– as in January 6.

    The growing problem remains squarely with these two institutional Establishment parties, with their diminishing membership and their legacy of ‘gumming up the works;’ controlling the system from the ground up for decades, leading to an increasingly angry, independent-minded, populist-rooted electorate fed up w/paying for poor performance and incompetence.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  7. Meanwhile the coup ideas rest on superseding the regular counting process.

    As in: “Thousands of people were excluded from voting because they had left their IDs at home, or their alarm didn’t go off or their dog ate their ballot! Some were even dead! Stupid Republican rules! They’ve got filled out ballots now, and we DEMAND these votes be counted!”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  8. Greasing the gears of an already larded up, arcane bureaucracy with more goop doesn’t seem a solution;

    It is how government works. First you build a bureaucracy that creates the problem, then you create one to help people deal with the first bureaucracy. This can be repeated.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  9. @8. Government can work. How the operators manage it is the problem. Thumb through your Constitution and ‘instructions for use’ are pretty clear– you’ll note there are no political parties mentioned. For instance, lest you forget:

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is facing pushback from some members of her own party for defending the practice of members of Congress trading stocks while in office.

    When asked about a Business Insider report finding that dozens of lawmakers and staff had violated a law to prevent insider trading, Pelosi last week said that they should all abide by disclosure laws but maintained: “We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that.”

    In response, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) tweeted: “No. It cannot be a perk of the job for Members to trade on access to information.” Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) – one of the wealthiest members of Congress thanks to his business career that included leading his family’s distillery as well as the gelato brand Talenti – echoed: “I disagree with the Speaker.” And Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.), who represents one of the most competitive districts in the nation, wrote that “I disagree strongly” with Pelosi’s stance. “Americans are losing trust in government and we need to show we serve the people, not our personal/political self-interest.”

    https://thehill.com/homenews/house/586499-pelosi-faces-pushback-over-stock-trade-defense

    “Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.”- Benjamin Franklin

    … who is now rolling over in his grave.

    And what a surprise: a broken clock can be right twice a day:

    “A state is nothing more than a reflection of its citizens; the more decent the citizens, the more decent the state.” – Ronald Reagan

    😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  10. Chuck Schumer is shooting down the idea. “That makes no sense,” he said, according to Axios. “If you’re going to rig the game and say, “Oh, we’ll count the rigged game accurately,’ what good is that?”

    Translation: I don’t care if you have the best bill ever. You’re ignoring my pet bill, and I just won’t stand for it, even if by neglecting your bill I throw the country into chaos.

    Vile.

    norcal (d4ed1d)

  11. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is facing pushback from some members of her own party for defending the practice of members of Congress trading stocks while in office.

    This is because they are a bunch of Communists. Trading stocks is consorting with the enemy.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  12. @11. More Royalists.

    But then, a ‘Red Coat’ by any other color … 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  13. @3. Poor judgement is a nutshell:

    David French voted for Joe Biden.

    =mike-drop=

    No, he did not.

    But I did.

    Patterico (e349ce)

  14. There’s a way to trade stocks, that limits insider trading, recommended for CEO’s selling their own stock: Trade according to a plan announced in a advance – a little bit every day or selected days. It still could present a problem.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  15. How in the world did they ever elect a President when there were fewer than 50 States sending Electoral Votes to Congress for the Vice President to count? (That would be before 1959 for the comrades from Rio Linda.)

    The Electoral Count Act, in any form, is an unconstitutional redundancy. It’s up to every individual State to have its act act together and send a valid slate of Electors, using whatever means it chooses. If it doesn’t, it sits out the election. No loss, no harm, no foul, who needs them?

    nk (1d9030)

  16. @13. “‘N-T’ David French now defending his vote for Biden with Trump whataboutism”

    ‘N-T’ David French took to Twitter to defend his vote for Biden in the face of an avalanche of bad executive orders coming from Biden, including killing the Keystone Pipeline, stopping the building of the wall on the southern border, and rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.

    https://therightscoop.com/never-trumper-david-french-now-defending-his-vote-for-biden-with-trump-whataboutism/

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  17. I disagree with conservatives who voted for Biden as much as those who voted for Trump. It’s pointless to condemn either.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  18. 13. 16. David French doesn’t say he voted for Biden. He says he opposed Trump, and defends getting the result.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  19. I opposed Trump but did not vote for Biden. And I am glad I did not because he was a liar, too. Trump is just a really bad liar.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)


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