Congress on Friday gave final approval to a bill changing the arcane law governing the certification of a presidential race, which has yet to be vetoed to prevent a repeat of Donald Trump’s attempt to reverse his 2020 election defeat. The biggest effort of
The House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Voter Counting Act as part of its massive year-end spending bill after the Senate passed similar wording on Thursday. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature.
Biden praised the inclusion of the provisions in the spending bill, calling it an “important bipartisan action that will help preserve the will of the people.”
The initiative is the most significant legislative response Congress has yet made to Trump’s aggressive efforts to nullify the popular vote, and a move that was urged by the House select committee that investigated the violent siege of the Capitol.
The provision replacing the 1887 law – which has long been criticized as poorly worded and confusing – won bipartisan support and would make it harder for future presidential losers to block their opponents from taking office, such as Trump. Tried to do on January 6, 2019. 2021.
Rick Hassan, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “It’s a great achievement, especially in this partisan climate, to have such a major redevelopment of a law that is so important to our democracy.” “This law closes the avenues that Trump and his allies tried to use in 2020, and could be exploited in future elections.”
On January 6, Trump aimed his battery at the ratification of the Electoral College votes by Congress. He tried to take advantage of the vice president’s role in reading states’ electors so that Mike Pence could block Biden as the next president except for a few states that Biden won. The new provisions make it clear that the vice president’s responsibilities in the process are merely formal and that the vice president has no say in determining who actually won the election.
The new law also extends the threshold for members of Congress to oppose voter certification. Previously, a member of the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, had to be opposed by state electors in order to implement the roll call vote. This helped make objections a routine partisan tactic for new presidents: Democrats opposed certifying both George W. Bush and Trump’s 2016 election.
However, those objections were mostly symbolic and came after Democrats acknowledged that Republican candidates had won the presidency. On January 6, 2021, even after a violent attack on the Capitol, Republicans forced a vote in Arizona and Pennsylvania to certify Biden’s victory, while Trump continued to falsely insist that he had won the election. This caused some members of Congress to worry that the process could be easily rigged.
Under the new rules, one-fifth of each household would be required to vote on the state voter list.
The new provisions also ensure that only one voter list reaches Congress, after Trump and his allies tried unsuccessfully to create alternative voter lists in states that Biden won. From now on, each governor must give his approval to the electors, and Congress cannot consider lists submitted by other officials. The bill creates a legal process should any of those voters be challenged by a presidential candidate.
The new law would also close a loophole that was not used in 2020 but election experts feared might be used: a provision that allows state legislatures to “fail” to defy their state’s popular vote. Allows electors to be appointed to the position of Election. That term has been interpreted to mean a contest that resulted in so many interruptions or was so inconclusive that there was no way to determine the actual winner, but this is not well defined in prior law.
A state can now change the date of its presidential election, but only in the event of “extraordinary and catastrophic events” such as a natural disaster.
Hassan said that although the changes are important, threats to democracy remain, noting that in Arizona, for example, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake filed a lawsuit Friday to overturn the victory of her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs. Awaited the verdict.
“Nobody should think that passing this law means we are out of the woods,” Hasan said. “It’s not a done thing.”