Congress, Elections, U.S. President

Manchin: Electoral Count Reform Act will be included in omnibus funding bill this week

MORGANTOWN — Sen. Joe Manchin announced on Tuesday that the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022 will be included in the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill slated for a vote in the Senate this week.

Manchin and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito were among the bipartisan group of senators leading the negotiations on the update to the outdated and ambiguous 1887 Electoral Count Act.

The changes came in response to former President Trump’s disproven but ongoing claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol attempting to overturn the election.

Sen. Susan Collins, lead GOP negotiator, joined Manchin in the announcement.

“The Senate’s ECA reform effort is the result of nearly a year of bipartisan negotiation, including numerous meetings and debates among our colleagues as well as conversations with a wide variety of election experts and legal scholars,” they said. “Our bipartisan group worked tirelessly to draft this legislation that fixes the flaws of the archaic and ambiguous Electoral Count Act of 1887 and establishes clear guidelines for our system of certifying and counting electoral votes for president and vice president.”

The act:

  • Identifies each state’s governor (unless otherwise specified in state law) as responsible for submitting the certificate identifying the state’s electors; Congress would not accept a certificate from any other state official.
  • Provides for expedited judicial review by a three-judge panel, with direct appeal to the Supreme Court, of claims by aggrieved presidential candidates.
  • Modernizes the rules for counting electoral votes, requiring Congress to defer to the electors submitted by the state executives.
  • States that the vice president’s role is ministerial, with no power to accept or reject results.
  • Raises the Congressional objection threshold. Currently, only one member of both chambers can object to a slate of electors. The act raises it to one-fifth of the members of each body.
  • Removes an 1845 provision that allows a state legislature to override the poplar vote by declaring a failed election.
  • Allows more than one presidential candidate to receive transition resources when the election is reasonably in doubt, until it is substantially certain who will win.
  • Requires the administration, when no one has conceded, to report to Congress on federal resources provided to each candidate and the status of determining the winner.

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