Ben Jacobs for Vox:
The human mind is ingenious. It can create towering works of art and make remarkable scientific discoveries. It is, as we saw in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, also capable of inventing new ways to undermine American democracy by abusing our existing election laws, and turning orderly presidential elections into anarchy and chaos.
It’s beyond the ken of lawmakers, or perhaps anyone, to try to sniff out every potential avenue for havoc. But they can fix obvious defects in presidential elections once they have been exploited.
The Electoral Count Reform Act currently before the Senate is an effort to do that, fitting into a long history of legislative action following a breakdown in the existing laws. It’s not a bold reinvention of the American electoral system, but a series of bureaucratic reforms, requiring careful legal craftwork, intended to patch frays and holes in the United States Code. To do that, it updates antiquated language, clarifies contested issues, and streamlines the process to follow if a once-in-a-century political crisis occurs.
The new legislation is not intended as a foolproof fix to avoid future issues — after all, who could have predicted that a mob featuring a man in a Viking costume would storm the Capitol chanting “hang Mike Pence”? But it does eliminate many of the ambiguities exploited by Trump and his allies in the 2020 election and ensures that anyone intent on trying to reverse a presidential election in the future will have to rely on their own ingenuity, and not the road map of 2020.