We Have a Bill to Help Prevent Another Jan. 6 Attack

Source: Wall Street Journal.

Liz Cheney and Zoe Lofgren want to repair the Electoral Count Act of 1887. They say their effort will be based on four principles; I disapprove of every one.

The vice president (who acts as presiding officer for a joint session of Congress in a presidential election) has no authority or discretion to reject official state electoral slates, to delay the count in any material way, or to issue procedural rulings that have such an effect.

I see no reason to limit the authority or discretion of the presiding officer. Authority and discretion are inherent attributes of the office. The gravity of their nature is exactly the reason that we assign a person and not a machine to perform them.

[I]f members of Congress have any right to object to electoral slates, the grounds for such objections should be narrow.

This principle conflicts with the more important principle that no congress can bind the actions of a future congress. There is no telling what the future holds; we should keep our options open.

[G]overnors must transmit lawful election results to Congress; if they fail to fulfill that duty, or another official prevents the lawful results from being transmitted, candidates for the presidency should be able to sue in federal court to ensure that Congress receives the state’s lawful certificate.

The courts are not the right place to determine election results because valid court processes take too long.

[F]ederal law must make clear that the rules governing an election can’t change after the election has occurred.

This sounds like a good thing, but I question whether new federal law is the best way to achieve the desired result. The citizens in the states are the parties with the Constitutional standing and the greatest interest to address the rules governing an election. We should leave this matter to them.

Overall, I disapprove of the notion that we can produce a more perfect union by continually passing more nearly perfect laws. The greater wisdom is to rely on the good nature of human beings in elected office to do right things. There is remedy enough should they fail.

17 thoughts on “We Have a Bill to Help Prevent Another Jan. 6 Attack

    1. Good point. I would also state that in addition to not being able to change governing rules after an election that states can’t change them 120 days prior or once early voting has started through the last day ballots will be accepted. Pennsylvania comes to mind in this regard even though the federal and state constitions clearly state only the legislature can change the rules.


      1. I see your point. BUT there was an unprecedented national emergency and changes to make voting safer and accessible to all eligible voters was necessary to ensure that the voices of the voters were heard. The legislatures may not have always made the changes, but they approved them. Until the GOP presidential candidate lost, while those below him won, and then they got their panties in a wad.


        1. I didn’t realize illegally extending acceptance of ballots, disregarding signatures, disregarding date stamps and accepting undated ballots had anything to do with “safety” or “accessibility” vice a call to make a lot more last second “friendly” nursing home visits and quick.


          1. Trump lost by over 80,000 votes in PA. And yet, down ballot Republicans made gains in Congress.

            Clever how the fraudsters made it look real while strengthening the GOP in The House.

            The fact is that Trump lost. All the “discrepancies” you listed were available to both Republicans and Democrats alike.

            Liked by 3 people

          2. The Republican Party has lost self-respect in its fervor to appease a con man. There are plenty of Republicans who would like Trump to just go away so they don’t have to look like ignorant toadies just to get primary wins.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. So the idea of having a January 6th every four years appeals to you?

    The Electoral Count Act needs reform. Both parties have said so. A bipartisan proposal to reform it is being prepared and should be considered. Oh wait. It’s NOT bipartisan its being proposed by A Democrat and Liz Cheney.😇

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can suggest some changes

    1. The Vice President PRESIDES over the count but cannot refuse legal certificates.
    2. The Constitution requires electors be chosen in the manner determined by the legislature of the states. Electors chosen in any other manner may be challenged in Federal court PRIOR to the counting of the votes. The courts may either accept or reject that state’s electors, but have no other options. Either the electors were chosen in the manner described by the legislature and are valid or they were not and the State’s electors are not counted for that election. That will discourage “emergency” changes.

    3. Counties not following State law may be challenged within 1 week of the election in Federal court. Counties not following the law will be excluded from that States tally, no other remedy allowed. The issue must be decided within 1 week.

    4. Appeals to District court decisions shall be to SCOTUS and decided in 1 week.

    That would have prevented the 2020 mess.


    1. RE: “The Vice President PRESIDES over the count but cannot refuse legal certificates.”

      That strikes me as unworkable. To preside over a process implies the ability to control it in some way.

      More generally, I don’t think the changes you recommend are even necessary. The problem with the 2020 election is that the integrity of the national vote count is too hard to prove for too many people. This is a categorically different problem from the need to revise the Electoral Count Act of 1887.

      As a nation we accept too much shabbiness in the way we run our elections. Fix that and the Electoral Count Act becomes a minor issue.


      1. “… national vote count is too hard to prove for too many people.”

        Why? If that is true, and it appears to be so among the majority of Republicans, what would change that?

        It seems that any challenges to the belief of massive rigging are met with shifting explanations for voter fraud.

        I don’t think we will ever convince some that the election was proper and transparent. Even highly partisan reviews in Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin came to the conclusions that there were not nearly enough irregularities to change outcomes. And yet, that is not enough.

        In my opinion, the goal for MAGA is to destroy election credibility enough to sidestep any pretense of democratic elections of representatives and presidents.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The VP’s position is basically ceremonial in nature. Has been for decades until 2020.

        The is no “national vote count”. The states tabulate the votes in their states and assign electors based on hat vote and their state Constitution.


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