Greg Sargent notes that the National Task Force on Election Crises has issued a report calling for updates to the Electoral Count Act.1 These include

  • Election Timing: setting clear dates by which states must choose their electors and defining “narrow, emergency circumstances” that would allow choosing electors after Election Day.
  • State Determinations: protecting states’ ability to resolve its own post-election disputes, without involving Congress (this gets into the “safe harbor” provision discussed in Schickler, Bimes, and Mickey; see note)
  • [what I’m calling] The Pence Proviso: making it clear that the Veep serves a limited, ceremonial role and can’t make resolve disputes.
  • Defining plausible objections: making it clear how serious an objection must be before a member of Congress raises it.
  • Process: giving clear procedures for dispute resolution in Congress.

    The Task Force notes “these updates would convey no partisan advantage or disadvantage,” which I think it would be nice to believe. But inasmuch as one party is particularly open to people who want to threaten violence if they don’t get their way, it probably would favor democrats.

    While we’re at it, we should revisit the Presidential Transition Act, whose ambiguous provision requiring the General Services Administrator to “ascertain” the “apparently successful candidate” allowed Emily Murphy to hold up the transition in 2020.



Eric Schickler, Terri Bimes, and Rob Mickey wrote about the Electoral Count Act in connection with the 2000 election.

Author: Eric Rauchway

Created: 2021-09-13 Mon 12:40