“The Pundits Are Wrong. Democrats Must Reform the Electoral Count Act and Pass Comprehensive Voting Rights Legislation.”

 Charlotte Hill, Jake Grumbach, Hakeem Jefferson and Adam Bonica:

We understand the allure of focusing exclusively on election subversion. Unlike voter suppression and gerrymandering, subversion is a relative newcomer to the “rigging elections” playbook, and pundits like novelty. There is also something particularly dangerous-sounding about election subversion; nothing is more quintessentially authoritarian than overtly overturning the expressed popular will of the people. 

To be clear, we firmly believe that Republican plans to exploit loopholes in the Electoral Count Act and subvert future elections deserve urgent attention, and congressional Democrats should promptly close these loopholes while they still can. As one of us (Grumbach) has thoroughly documented, the GOP has used its state governmental authority to erode the foundations of American democracy for the past 20 years. We have no doubt that, if given the opportunity to overturn election results in favor of Republican candidates, the party will opt to do so. 

But calls to abandon the fight for voting rights and fair districting to focus singularly on reforms to the Electoral Count Act are misguided. Reforms to the ECA would make it harder to overturn election results — but that matters much less when those results are already structurally biased toward minority rule. Pro-democracy advocates cannot afford a piecemeal approach to reform in this moment of democratic crisis. 

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