Voter count law overhaul will pass, Manchin says

WASHINGTON — Two senators are working on an overhaul of the little-known law that the old President Donald J. Trump and his allies trie...


WASHINGTON — Two senators are working on an overhaul of the little-known law that the old President Donald J. Trump and his allies tried to use to nullify the 2020 election pledged on Sunday that their legislation would pass the Senate, saying recent revelations about the conspiracy made their work even more important.

In a joint CNN “State of the Union” interview, Senators Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, and Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, said their efforts to rewrite the Electoral Count Act of 1887 were gaining wider support in the Senate, with no less than 20 senators taking part in the discussions.

“Absolutely, it will pass,” Mr. Manchin said of an overhaul of the law, which dictates how Congress formalizes elections.

He said efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies to exploit “ambiguity” in the law were “what caused the insurgency” — the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. This misinterpretation of the statute led to a plan by Mr. Trump and his allies to amass a crowd outside the Capitol in an attempt to pressure Congress and Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the official count. of the electoral votes of Congress, to annul the results of the election.

Murkowski said the rewrite could be expanded to include other protections for democracy, such as a crackdown on threats and harassment against election workers.

“We want to make sure that if you’re going to be an election worker,” Ms. Murkowski said, “you don’t feel intimidated, threatened or harassed.”

A bipartisan group of at least 15 senators – which includes Mr. Manchin and Ms. Murkowski and is led by Senator Susan Collins, Republican from Maine – recently began discussions with another group that includes top Democrats who have studied the issue. During months. This group includes Senator Angus King, independent from Maine; Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota; and Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois.

Mr King’s group released last week draft legislative text for a rewrite of the voter count law that would address the shortcomings revealed by Mr. Trump’s plan. The bill would clarify that the vice president does not have the power to dismiss voters from a state and would ensure that state legislatures cannot appoint voters after Election Day for the purpose of nullifying voters. their state’s election results.

It would also give states more time to complete legitimate recounts and litigation; provide limited judicial oversight to ensure that voters nominated by a state reflect the results of the popular vote in the state; list specific and narrow grounds for opposition to voters or electoral votes; raise the thresholds for Congress to consider objections; and make it harder to support objections without broad support from both houses of Congress.

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr King called his group’s draft “very non-partisan” and said it included input from conservative and liberal jurists.

‘I hope we can join forces and get a good bill,’ Mr King said of Ms Collins’ group.

The latest push to clarify the law follows a series of revelations about a campaign by Mr Trump and his allies to try to overturn the 2020 election, including the appearance of memos that show the roots of attempts to use so-called substitute voters to keep Mr. Trump in power and the exploration of proposals by the former president seize voting machines.

On Friday, Mr. Pence offered his most forceful rebuke of Mr. Trump’s plan, claiming the former president was “wrong” to insist that Mr Pence had the legal authority to overturn the election results. These comments came on the same day as the Republican National Committee voted to censure two party membersRepresentatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, A resolution who called the events of January 6 “legitimate political discourse”.

Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger are the only Republican members of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, which left more than 150 police officers injured and caused several deaths.

The resolution drew criticism from some congressional Republicans on Sunday.

Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, told ABC’s ‘This Week’ that he ‘disagrees with this statement – whether it applies to those who have committed criminal offenses and violence for s ‘take over our sanctuary of democracy’.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s former chief of staff, said that “from my front-row seat, I haven’t seen much legitimate political speech.”

Mr Short blamed Mr Trump’s push to void the election on ‘a lot of bad advisers who were basically snake oil salesmen, giving him really random and new ideas about what the VP could do’ .

He described being taken to a secure room in the Capitol with Mr. Pence on Jan. 6 as rioters stormed the building, some chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” He said Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence did not speak that day.

Mr. Short and another top Pence aide, Greg Jacob, recently testified before the committee, a step that Mr. Pence’s advisers had hoped would prevent the committee from issuing a subpoena for Mr. Pence. Representatives of Mr. Pence has been negotiating with committee lawyers for months.

“It would be a pretty unprecedented step for the committee,” Mr Short said of a subpoena for the former vice president, adding that it would be “very difficult for me to see this scenario play out. “.

Emily Cochrane and Chris Cameron contributed report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Voter count law overhaul will pass, Manchin says
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