Jan. 6 Panel Members Propose Reforms to Electoral College Certification Process

Two members of the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, submitted a bill to reform the counting of Electoral College votes.

The Presidential Election Reform Act — sponsored by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) — would change aspects of the Electoral Count ActThis makes it more difficult for elected officials and voters to overturn their will.

“Our proposal is intended to preserve the rule of law for all future presidential elections by ensuring that self-interested politicians cannot steal from the people the guarantee that our government derives its power from the consent of the governed,” Cheney and Lofgren wrote in an op-ed that was published in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend.

Their legislation takes a multi-pronged approachto stop another attempt to reverse the presidential election. It makes clear, for example, that the role of the vice president in counting the electors in the Electoral College is purely “ministerial” — addressing Former President Donald Trump’s and his allies attempted to stop him to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject certain states’ electors nearly two years ago.

The bill would also increase the number of lawmakers needed to make a formal objection to a state’s slate of electors. Only one member of each Congress chamber is required to object. This would force both chambers into a formal discussion about the matter and vote whether to reject it. Under Cheney’s and Lofgren’s plan, the threshold to object and force such a vote would increase, to one-third of the members in each of the two houses.

Additionally, the bill seeks to prevent fake electors from being counted as equal to real ones in the Electoral College certification process — the same scheme which Trump and his allies sought to use after he lost in 2020 to President Joe Biden. The Presidential Election Reform Act would prohibit those actions outright, requiring “a single, accurate certificate from each state” to be submitted and making it explicitly illegal to try and submit fake ones.

The legislation could pass in the Democratic-controlled House as soon as this week, as the House Rules Committee is considering the legislation on Tuesday. If the committee votes to forward it on it could receive a full House voting as soon as Wednesday.

The Senate will likely support the bill with bipartisan support. It’s unclear, however, whether 10 Republican senators would join with Democrats to break a probable filibuster in that chamber.