“Democracy remains under threat. Here is one thing that Congress still might do.”

Washington Post editorial:

The focus of the Democrats’ failed bills was on ensuring Americans access to the ballot box — a response to voting restrictions imposed in 19 states by Republicans. But at least as important is ensuring that Americans’ votes are counted fairly and the results respected. U.S. democracy’s most severe test in modern times came when President Donald Trump tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election by pressuring local election officials, state lawmakers, Congress and the vice president. He failed, but exposed critical vulnerabilities in the nation’s political system.

Foremost is the 1887 Electoral Count Act, a creaky law prescribing how Congress tallies presidential electoral votes….

The law should treat as presumptively valid electors certified by governors, under court oversight, according to the popular vote systems in each state. Likewise, the law should refuse to acknowledge electors state legislatures might try to appoint outside this process, after a vote has occurred. Congress should extend protections to election workers, both from partisan officials seeking to pressure them and from members of the public who might threaten them with harm. And the federal government should provide money for better election equipment, staffing, training and statistically-sound vote auditing.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has convened a bipartisan group to discuss such sensible changes; Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) has put forth a smart proposal. These are modest reforms to which no one who cares about the nation’s democratic system could reasonably object.

Senators cannot let this convergence of interest in reform pass. What they do now could determine whether the United States faces a crisis on the scale of — or worse — than what the country experienced on Jan. 6, 2021.

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