The League joined a letter written by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights with 60 other organizations to urge the Senate to reform the outdated Electoral Count Act of 1887 before the end of the year. The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, S.4573, represents a significant advance forward to securing and protecting our democracy from future attacks on presidential elections.
December 12, 2022
RE: Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022, S.4573
Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell:
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 230 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, and the 60 undersigned organizations, we write in strong support of the Senate’s bipartisan effort to reform the outdated and extremely flawed Electoral Count Act of 1887 before the end of the year.
The deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, which sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, was an unprecedented and dangerous assault on our democracy. We believe that Congress has a solemn and profound obligation to ensure the absolute integrity of future presidential elections and to prevent a frontal challenge to the electoral count process from ever happening again.
The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, S.4573, represents a significant advance forward to securing and protecting our democracy from future attacks on presidential elections. The bill—building on bipartisan legislation that passed the House earlier this year—contains important, common-sense reforms which modernize the process for certifying and counting electoral votes for presidential elections.
These include provisions clarifying the ministerial role of the Vice President in counting Electoral College votes, with no authority or discretion to reject official state electoral slates; and raising the numerical threshold for Members of Congress to object to electoral slates, which will prevent abuse and delay of the electoral process. Importantly, the legislation also allows for expedited judicial review for legal challenges by a presidential or vice-presidential candidate relating to the issuance or transmission of a slate of electors. The bill makes clear that these provisions do not preempt or displace other state or federal proceedings related to the election, including the wide array of matters concerning discrimination in voting or other election litigation in federal or state court. Finally, the legislation specifies that presidential electors must be selected according to state law as it existed prior to election day and that a state may only extend its presidential election in very narrow circumstances constituting “force majeure events that are extraordinary and catastrophic.”
While we welcome reforms to the Electoral Count Act, we must also be clear that S. 4573 only represents the beginning of Congress’s discharge of its constitutional obligations to secure and safeguard our democratic processes. The threats to our democracy continue in full force. The events on January 6 were rooted in white supremacy and deep-seated racism. Preceded by an election in which voters of color participated in record numbers, the insurrection represented a violent backlash to increased political power of communities of color which has also fueled a litany of state and local voting restrictions not seen since the Jim Crow era.
We strongly urge the Senate to also address the discriminatory barriers to the ballot faced by voters of color who attempt to cast votes and have those votes fully counted as well as election subversion measures and other forms of interference with the electoral process. We implore the Senate to promote and protect an inclusive multiracial democracy by passing federal voting rights protections to ensure everyone can participate and have equal access to the ballot.
Thank you for this opportunity to present our views. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Leslie Proll, Senior Director for Voting Rights, The Leadership Conference, at [email protected].
See full list of signatories in attached letter