Tom Daschle and Trent Lott Advocate for Reforms to the Electoral Count Act of 1887

Former Senate majority leaders Tom Daschle (D) and Trent Lott (R) have published an Op Ed in the WSJ endorsing the need for swift bi-partisan action to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 in advance of the next presidential election.

“Nowhere does the Constitution give Congress or the vice president the authority to toss out election results. But last year’s events made clear that in this hyperpolarized time, the Electoral Count Act is convoluted and ambiguous enough to be vulnerable to abuse. A bipartisan group of senators is working to update the law, which was cobbled together in the wake of the disputed 1876 election to prevent—or settle—such disputes. This bipartisan momentum is promising.

One aspect of the act that is ripe for exploitation is the provision allowing a state legislature to decide how to choose electors if the state has somehow “failed to make a choice” on Election Day. Some have incorrectly suggested this vague language means state lawmakers could use any number of trumped-up excuses to override the will of the voters and unilaterally appoint electors of their choosing. To address this, Congress should narrowly define the limited circumstances—like natural disasters or terrorist attacks—under which a state may appoint electors after Election Day.”

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