Statement of Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer

The Electoral Count Reform Act of 2022 (ECRA) that reforms antiquated 19th-century laws governing the presidential election process is essential and urgently needed legislation to help ensure that any future Trump-like presidential coup attempt will not succeed.

Democracy 21 applauds the Senate Rules Committee, led by Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO), for reporting the ECRA today by a vote of 14-to-1, and setting the stage for Congress to enact the reforms in the lame duck session following the November elections.

The House passed its own version of the legislation last week. The Presidential Election Reform Act, sponsored by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), is effective and important legislation that Democracy 21 also supports.

The strong and effective bipartisan Electoral Count Reform Act legislation was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) and, with its additional 10 Democratic and 10 Republican Senate cosponsors, has enough support to break a filibuster.

The Rules Committee reported a Managers’ Substitute today that incorporates the Collins-Manchin proposal and makes a few strengthening changes to the original bill.

Most importantly, the Managers’ Substitute strengthens a provision to close the dangerous loophole that former President Donald Trump attempted to exploit that could have allowed state legislatures to override the choice of the voters in their states, for any reason they chose, and name their own presidential electors instead.

The flaws in the 19th-century laws that oversee the presidential election process were brought into sharp focus by former President Trump’s attempted coup to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s effort to steal the presidency was unsuccessful but it was a stark warning of what could happen in future presidential elections if the 19th-century laws are not effectively repaired and loopholes closed.

Given former President Trump’s insurrectionist efforts culminating in the January 6 attack on Congress that brought us close to a constitutional crisis, there is no room for error and no time to lose in enacting this reform legislation into law.

Democracy 21 strongly urges the Senate to pass and Congress to enact the Electoral Count Reform Act as soon after the November elections as possible.

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