Must-Read Ben Ginsberg: “Republicans in Congress Should Update the Electoral Count Act Before It’s Too Late”

Great Ben Ginsberg piece in NRO:

Donald Trump should want the Electoral Count Act of 1887 amended. And he should want it done even though his some of his Democratic opponents may want the same thing.

Designed to govern Congress’s tabulation of Electoral College votes — including disputes between the chambers — the aged law is a swamp of ambiguity. Its byzantine, vague, and muddled provisions do not provide sufficient answers to crucial questions that could arise in a genuinely close election. Despite the fact that the former president’s attempts to exploit those shortcomings failed in 2020, he and all Republicans should be haunted by the blueprint that he has created for his opponents if he were to run for office again in 2024.

Republicans should not deceive themselves by thinking the current state of this law automatically works to their advantage. While many of them used it offensively on January 6, 2021, they did so because they were trailing in Electoral College votes. They poked at real flaws, and while not successful because the vice president rebuffed Trump’s legally unsupportable command that the states’ certifications be rejected, Republicans did show how the system can be maneuvered.

Republicans should be in favor of clarifying the system now, if for no other reason than they will not be in as strong a position as they were in 2020.

For starters, a Democratic vice president will be presiding over the Senate when the Electoral College votes are opened. Suppose Trump runs again, and wins. Now, suppose Vice President Harris believes that Trump’s reelection represents an existential threat to the county and does what Trump couldn’t persuade Mike Pence to do.

As of now, neither party can know whether its presidential candidate will be ahead or behind in Electoral College votes or whether it will control the Senate and House in January 2025 to resolve Electoral College vote disputes in its favor. And Trump will not be the commander in chief in 2024 able to wield the threat of invoking the Insurrection Act as a not-so-subtle inducement to —and cover for — allies in Congress if he doesn’t like the way the electoral-vote count is going.

Even Ramesh Ponnuru, who thinks concerns about Trump subverting the 2024 election results are way overblown, favors ECA reform:

To the extent that Trump’s post-election campaign compels any policy response at all, it is a reform of the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which contains confusions and imperfections that an unscrupulous and nimble political leader could exploit. It should, for example, be amended so that it takes more than one senator to force a vote on an objection to a state’s electors. The bar for Congress to throw out a state’s electors should also be raised.

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