“Democrats: Don’t reject GOP offer to fix electoral count law”

Kevin Johnson has this op-ed in The Hill:

While healthy skepticism of GOP motives is certainly justified, Democrats are wrong not to take up the offer to fix the ECA. Voting rights are important, but the rhetoric behind prioritizing the Freedom to Vote Act misrepresents state laws the Act would overrule, none of which poses as great a threat as the ECA. Also, there’s no apparent reason Democrats could not pursue both in parallel. 

ECA reform should prioritize the provision – termed “a loaded weapon” by one scholar – that allows state legislatures to name presidential electors on their own if the state “has failed to make a choice” via a popular election. In future elections there could well be partisan officials willing to exploit this loophole to subvert the popular will. It might take as little as a Trump loyalist secretary of state refusing to certify results to give state legislatures pretense to claim a failed election and name their own electors.

Among other reforms, a revised ECA should ensure that once a state has held an election for president, its electors are named based only on the results of that election. Rules for all other elections don’t allow failure to be an option. If disputes or emergencies arise, states address those problems until a winner is determined. Congress should require they do likewise for presidential elections, albeit within a more compressed timeframe. 

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