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House prepares to vote on Voter Count Law Reform Bill

A bill to reform and strengthen Electoral Count Act which aims to thwart future attempts to overturn presidential elections is expected to be considered by the House as early as Wednesday.

The bill, led by Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Republican representative. Liz Cheneyaims to prevent a recurrence of what happened on January 6, 2021, when rioters swarmed the Capitol, causing a delay of several hours in the affirmation of electoral votes by Congress.

The purpose of the amended Presidential Election Reform Act is to ensure that Congress receives an electoral certificate from each state that accurately reflects the vote of the people and Congress counts electoral votes as required by the Constitution. It also reaffirms that the role of the Vice President of the United States is simply ministerial – after that –President Trump is pushing Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electoral votes and annul the results of the presidential election 2020.

“What Donald Trump tried to convince the Vice President to do was illegal under current law and we start by asserting that, but then we have to take steps to make sure another January 6 is something that will never happen again,” Cheney said on a call Tuesday.

The American flag is seen in front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, September 19, 2022.

Mariam Zuhaib / AP

In a Sunday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Cheney and Loefgren said the proposal “aims to preserve the rule of law for all future presidential elections by ensuring that interested politicians cannot rob the people of the guarantee that our government derives its power from the consent of the governed.”

The measure would also raise the threshold for any objection made by the Senate and the House to the electoral votes of a state. Instead of just one member from each house, a third of each house would have to oppose it, and the law would also list constitutional grounds that could be invoked by members who wish to oppose it.

Cheney and Lofgren are both members of the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 capitol assaultand Cheney’s continued vocal criticism of Trump’s handling that day alienated her from the leadership of the Republican Party and she lost a primary for his seat to a Trump-backed challenger.

The bill, which is also expected to clear the Senate, also clarifies that the Constitution prohibits election officials from refusing to count ballots or certify elections in accordance with state election laws. Republican election officials in several states have refused to certify primary election results this year.

The House GOP leadership is telling Republican members to vote against the bill.

Pence stood by his decision to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, and earlier this year said Trump was ‘wrong’ pretend that as vice president he had the power to do something else. Pence also released a letter Jan. 6 saying he had no power to decide the election.

“It is my considered judgment that my oath to uphold and defend the Constitution precludes me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes shall be counted and which shall not,” pence said in a statement that day, in the face of relentless pressure from Trump.

This pressure on Pence to cancel the 2020 election was a key focus of the January 6 committee. The committee hopes to have another hearing on September 28, after a summer break. Cheney said Tuesday there would be other legislative recommendations to come out of the committee, but did not suggest what they might be.

— Rebecca Kaplan and Zachary Hudak contributed to this report


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