Parliament’s selection committee is targeting a 134-year-old law to prevent another 6 January

Legislation would focus the committee on developing the law in the context of an investigation, which would unfairly reduce the price of legal argument that former President Donald Trump has stated that the committee has no real legislative intent to search for his White House documents.

Specifically, members focus on amendments to a 19th-century law known as the Election Counting Act, which is intended to allow Congress a process to validate the votes of the electoral college submitted by states. It is an everyday but crucial part of the machinery of the presidential election that Trump and his allies tried to exploit last year.

Electoral law experts and reform advocates warn that in light of January 6, the 134-year-old law needs to be updated and strengthened to ensure that a losing party can never undermine the results of an electoral college.

“The bigger fruit of the 2020 experience is that every phase of the presidential election process has been thrown into doubt and is now sown with traps,” said Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland who is one of the elected committee members involved in the debate. , he told CNN.

David Becker, executive director and founder of the non-partisan Center for Electoral Innovation and Research, says changes are needed to “limit objections to some valid issues, such as if the state does not confirm voters by the deadline, and clearly clarify the purely ceremonial nature of the common “prevent such pressure on the future Vice-President to overturn the electoral decisions of the states.”

Bilateral efforts

Efforts to draft such a law have begun in Parliament’s administrative committee, chaired by Zoe Lofgren of California and Raskin. Both Democrats have been appointed to an elected committee, where Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming is now in talks.

Raskin said no decision has yet been made on what any legislation stemming from the committee could mean.

“The selected committee is working hard to uncover the facts about January 6 and its causes, and in preparing our report, we will consider a number of possible legislative and policy proposals,” Council President, Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said in a statement. on CNN. “One of the most important parts of the work of the committee chosen is to help ensure that nothing more than January 6 is repeated, and we take this mandate very seriously.”

Cheney, expelled from the House GOP conference for joined the Democrats ’investigation, addressed efforts last week in a podcast with political strategist James Carville and political journalist Al Hunt.

“We are looking at the 1887 election counting law and whether or not we need to change it to ensure that in the future this kind of objection to voters will not be so exposed to possible abuses.”

Congressional Republicans vehemently rejected it Democrats are working to pass legislation on voting rights this year. By drafting a bill from Parliament’s elected committee investigating Jan. 6, Democrats can offer a narrower way to address at least electoral subversion.

While discussions took place even before Trump’s lawsuit, this effort could allow the committee to defend itself against accusations by Trump and his allies that subpoenas are invalid because they have no legislative purpose.

Earlier this month, Trump filed a lawsuit tried to prevent the investigation from obtaining records from his presidency by claiming executive privilege, while accusing the senate’s requests for executive branch documents “unprecedented in their breadth and scope and unrelated to any legitimate legislative intent.”

Discusses the Eastman memo

A new bill could also be considered now the infamous Eastman note, drafted by Conservative attorney John Eastman, who unveiled a six-step plan on how Pence could validate the election in Trump’s favor. The note argued that the election counting law itself was unconstitutional. Eastman proposed that Pence discard the votes of enough states won by Biden so that the presidential election would be decided by Parliament, where each state gets one vote and Republicans control several state delegations.
READ: Full minutes of Trump's lawyer on Pence's plan to annul election

Becker says changes to the election counting law could prevent such a coup attempt by Eastman.

“The vice president doesn’t have some extra-constitutional superpowers to replace the judgment of voters, countries with his personal preferences,” Becker said. “The European Court of Auditors could change that to make this clear.”

Raskin said lawmakers will also consider whether they should raise the limit for lawmakers to object and make it harder for state lawmakers to overturn the popular will of voters in the country.

“Determining how to prevent this kind of derailment of the presidential election is extremely complicated,” Raskin said.

Time is uncertain

Any new legislation is likely to come after the committee completes its investigation, sources said, as the committee’s findings are likely to affect how the law is written. Thompson said he wants the committee to move quickly, and they quickly despised Trump adviser Steve Bannon as he defied the council’s subpoenas.

But the committee’s efforts to obtain documents and testimonies could still be embroiled in court battles, making it difficult for the committee to complete its investigation. They are also waiting to see what the Department of Justice will do by invoking Bannon’s contempt.

Despite breaking up with a majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives on Jan. 6 because of Trump’s complicity and the need for a select committee to get to the bottom of it, Cheney showed no interest in joining House Democrats to pass their extensive bill on voting rights, which aims at new voting restrictions. countries. Republicans in the Senate have blocked several Democratic laws this year.

It is too early to say whether Cheney’s involvement could lead to a different outcome for a law that focuses on election subversion. That would require 60 votes in the Senate, and the support of ten Republicans could be tough – especially if that effort were seen as a reproach to Trump in the middle of the mid-election season.

Three days before Congress on Jan. 6, which confirmed Biden’s victory and attack on the Capitol, Cheney wrote a letter to her Republican counterparts claiming that their objections were unconstitutional and “our fundamental beliefs as Republicans.”

“By opposing the electoral roll, members inevitably argue that Congress has the power to overturn elections and overturn state and federal courts,” Cheney wrote. “Such objections set an extremely dangerous precedent, as they threaten to steal the explicit constitutional responsibility of states for the election of the president and give it to Congress instead.”

Edward Foley, a professor of suffrage at Ohio State University, urged Congress to update the pre-election counting bill in 2020. He argued that the bill should clarify that once a state properly approves its voter list, Congress would not should be easily intervened to eliminate them.

If the House of Representatives and the Senate supported the objections – if one party controlled both houses of Congress and the other party won the White House, for example – it could expel voters and push the presidential election to parliament, creating the possibility of a constitutional crisis.

“In 2025, this kind of takeover and rejection of the constitutional process could change if the votes are there,” Foley told CNN.

Foley added, “What we’ve been through this year is proof that we need to fix this before next.”


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