“Elections experts, law professors, former President of National Association of Secretaries of State urge Congress to pass state vote counting deadline extension to avoid crisis”


With just a month to go before the November 3rd election, a group of 40  experts on elections and democracy are imploring Congress to support a bill that would give  states more time to tally election results.  

A letter the group sent to Senate and House members expresses concern that delays due to  close races, legal disputes, and the unprecedented number of mail-in ballots expected during  the Covid-19 pandemic could prevent states from being able to fully and accurately count votes  by current deadlines, resulting in a constitutional crisis.  

“In the event of one or more protracted disputes at the state level, the addition of 24 days to the  deadline for determining electors could spare the country a debilitating national political crisis,”  the letter notes. “Otherwise, it may fall to the new Congress (on January 6) to determine the  winner of the electoral votes of one or more states, under the troublingly ambiguous provisions  of the Electoral Count Act of 1887. This could produce a grave national controversy just two  weeks before the inauguration.” 

The group, which includes research, legal, and policy expertise on election administration  across a wide range of institutional affiliations, is specifically asking Congress to back a bill  Senator Marco Rubio introduced on August 6th, which would extend the federal safe harbor  deadline from December 8, 2020 to January 1, 2021, and the Electoral College vote from  December 14 to January 2. 

The experts hope their letter can help generate newfound bipartisan support for the measure,  noting, “the extension of these deadlines would not favor or prejudice either political party,” and  that “as experts who study the election process, the resolution of disputed elections, and similar  matters, we believe Senator Rubio’s bill is good insurance for the integrity of the election and  ought to be adopted.” 

If the letter is successful in spurring enactment of the measure, states would gain valuable time  to resolve any election disputes prior to Inauguration Day.  

The full letter is attached below.  

I broke my usual rule not to sign mass letters for this one. It’s that important.

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