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House approves bill to reform electoral law

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The House of Representatives has a bill to reform the electoral lawan attempt by Republican Rep. Liz Cheney and others to prevent another January 6, 2021, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the electoral count of the 2020 presidential election. The final vote was 229 to 203, with nine Republicans joining Democrats in support of the bill.

Those nine Republicans were Cheney and Representatives Tom Rice, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Meijer, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Fred Upton, John Katko, Anthony Gonzales and Chris Jacobs.

The Presidential Election Reform Act, sponsored by Cheney and fellow Jan. 6 House committee member, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, ensures that each state’s Congress receives an election certificate that accurately reflects voters’ will, requires Congress to count electoral votes as the constitution determines, and reaffirms the vice president’s role in approving electoral votes is only ministerial, after Trump publicly urged then-Vice President Mike Pence to “fraudulently reject elected voters.” Pence refused, saying he was not authorized to do so.

The bill also raises the threshold for any objection made in the House or Senate to a state’s electoral votes, from one member of each chamber to a third member of each chamber.

“Let me be clear – this is a family kitchen table issue, and we need to make sure this anti-democratic plot cannot succeed,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor ahead of the vote. “It’s a kitchen table issue because the American people are being denied their fundamental freedom to choose their own leaders, deprived of their voice in the policies we have and those policies can make a huge difference in their daily lives.”

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House GOP leaders encouraged Republican members to vote against the bill. None of the nine Republicans who voted for it will be at the polls in November four have lost primaries to Trump-backed challengers and five who chose not to be re-elected. Eight of them voted for impeachment former President Donald Trump for his actions ahead of the January 6 attack.

The measure will have to go through the Senate before it can be signed by President Biden.

“What Donald Trump tried to convince the Vice President to do was illegal under existing law and we are starting to confirm that, but we then need to take steps to ensure that a new January 6 is something that will never happen again.” happen,” Cheney said on a bell Tuesday.

In the Senate, Republican Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced Wednesday that a similar bill, the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, now has 10 GOP co-sponsors and 10 Democratic co-sponsors. The fact that 10 Republicans are signing as co-sponsors indicates that there is enough support to pass the bill in the Senate.

“We are pleased that bipartisan support continues to grow for these sensible and much-needed reforms of the Electoral Count Act of 1887,” Manchin and Collins said in a statement Wednesday. “Our bill is supported by electoral law experts and organizations across the ideological spectrum. We will continue to work to increase bipartisan support for our legislation that would correct the flaws in this archaic and ambiguous law.”

The Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday issued an official statement of support for the presidential electoral reform bill.

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“The administration shares Congress’ interest in securing the electoral process to preserve the will of the people as expressed through democratic procedures established by law,” OMB said. “…Americans deserve greater clarity in the process by which their vote will result in the election of a president and vice president.”

— Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report

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