Legislation to establish clear guidelines for certifying and counting electoral votes in presidential elections has cleared a major hurdle in the U.S. Senate.
Up until now, the Electoral Count Reform Act had only nine Republican supporters in the Senate. Now, Spectrum News has confirmed that Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has also signed onto the legislation which gives the bill the 10 Republicans it needs to survive any filibuster in the Senate.
The 10 Senate Republicans supporting the legislation include:
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
- Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)
- Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)
- Sen. Tom Tillis (R-NC)
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
- Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
- Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
- Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
The legislation was drafted largely as a response to efforts by then-President Donald Trump and his supporters to overturn his loss in the 2020 election. The bill would clarify that the vice president cannot overturn the results of presidential elections, as Trump pressured Vice President Mike Pence to do after Trump lost to Joe Biden.
The bill’s main co-sponsors, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have said the current law governing the counting of electoral votes was passed in 1887 and is worded ambiguously.
Officials with Protect Democracy, a non-partisan group that advocates on issues to preserve the democratic process, agree.
“One of the most troubling provisions in the statute is this concept of a failed election, that suggests that if an election is held for the purpose of appointing electors, but somehow a state fails to make a choice, then the legislature of the state can determine the manner of appointing electors," said Genevieve Nadeau, counsel at Protect Democracy.
With issues like this at stake, Collins previously told Spectrum News that she wanted to have a vote on the bill in September. However, nearly halfway through the month, lawyers at Protect Democracy explain why the bill needs to be passed before the end of the year and ideally before the mid-term elections.
“We don't know what Congress is going to look like, of course, and we've got a lot of good momentum going on right now," Nadeau added. "That's important to seize on. But I think the even more important reason is that you just want the rules of the presidential election set in place as soon as possible and well in advance of the sort of political landscape for 2020 for fully taking shape.”
Spectrum News reached out to Collins' office for comment on any future plans for moving the legislation forward and they responded with a statement.
"Bipartisan support continues to grow for these sensible and much-needed reforms to the Electoral Count Act of 1887. The Rules Committee hearing in July highlighted the broad support the bill has from election law experts across the ideological spectrum. The Senators are continuing to work to secure additional cosponsors for their legislation that would correct the flaws in this archaic and ambiguous law," said Annie Clark, a spokesperson for Sen. Susan Collins.