In normally behind-the-scenes acts of bipartisanship, one Democratic Senator and one Republican Senator are publicizing their working relationship. During a Sunday appearance on CNN, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced they are among a joint effort working on the Election Overhaul bill. This is intended to be the revision of the Electoral Count Act of 1887. This is the little-known law that former President Donald Trump and his allies tried to use in order to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.
NBC News reports that the bipartisan group has broken into five subgroups to work on different aspects of the law’s overhaul. One of the starting points was agreeing that the 19th-century law is unclear, which left itself open to the interpretations used by the former President: That the Vice President had an additional constitutional power to change election results. Senators report they are working to make sure the language in the updated law makes it absolutely clear that the Vice President has no such power.
Donald Trump still insists that former Vice President Mike Pence could have overturned the election. This pushed the longtime Trump loyalist to go public and make his more forceful statements against his former boss. Mr. Pence warned that the future of the United States is at stake.
“Trump said I had the right to overturn the election,” Pence said during an appearance in Orlando, Florida last week. “President Trump is wrong.”
Why You Need to Know:
With this exposure and publicity given to the bipartisanship of Senators working on the revision of the ancient Electoral Count Act, where was the effort with the Election Rights bills that went down in defeat? Although Senator Manchin liked to tout how he was working with Republicans to pass other measures, there’s little evidence of that when it comes to election reform for everyday citizens. If you’re going to work on archaic voting measures, how about doing away with something that’s not even a law or in the constitution, like the Senate filibuster?
Get your priorities in order. Eliminating the Electoral College is important. Eliminating voter suppression is crucial. But let us be clear. Publicizing how Democrats and Republicans are working to update an 1887 law means nothing compared to how voters saw you let election reform legislation, in the name of John Lewis, languish and die like it did.