WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than a year and a half after the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack, the House passed the most significant legislation in response to the attack. It’s a bill that would overhaul the Electoral Count Act, a law that the former president tried to use to overturn the 2020 election.
On January 6, 2021, pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the counting of electoral votes from the 2020 election. In hopes of preventing another January 6th from happening, the House passed a bill to reform the 135 year-old Electoral Count Act. It’s the same law former president Trump tired to exploit that day to overturn the election.
The legislation aims to ensure that congress receives an electoral certificate from each state that accurately reflects the will of the voters. Requires congress to count electoral votes as the constitution stipulates, and reaffirms that the vice president’s role in approving electoral votes is merely ministerial, something former president Trump publicly urged for then Vice President Mike Pence to ‘reject’ the electoral votes. Pence refused, saying he had no authority to do so.
This House bill passed 229 to 203, mostly along party lines. Our local congressional members voted against it, so we asked them why.
Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson sent this statement:
“This is the latest attempt to federalize national elections, by impeding states’ rights and ignoring the constitution. Rather than locking House Republicans out of the drafting process and rushing partisan legislation to the floor, we should have an honest debate about how to create policies that will ensure the integrity of our elections.”
Rep. Joe Sempolinski (R- NY) sent this statement:
“I had major concerns with the Presidential Election Reform Act. This bill raised too many red flags that I could not in good conscience vote for it. I question the constitutionality of the bill based on how it interferes with states running elections. It should also be noted that this bill opens the door for endless legal challenges and even extended voting for already completed elections. The integrity of our elections is vital, but this bill was too fundamentally flawed to be the answer.”
A spokesperson for Rep. Mike Kelly sent us this statement:
“Rep. Kelly opposes federalizing elections, which this bill attempts to do. Democracy belongs in the hands of the people, not bureaucrats in Washington.”
This House bill will still need to pass the senate before it can be signed by president Biden and that’s if the Senate passes it.
Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey (R- PA) is co-sponsoring similar legislation. Toomey said in part: “the poor drafting of the 1887 Electoral Count Act endangered the transition of power from one administration to the next”.