Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Tuesday he will back legislation that intends to make it more difficult in the future to object to the results of presidential elections.
The Electoral Count Act and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022, a bill sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and supported by other liberal-moderate Republicans, was dismissed, nevertheless, by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who said it is based on Democrats’ belief voter fraud “helps elect more Democrats.”
“I strongly support the modest changes that our colleagues in a working group have fleshed out after literally months of detailed discussions,” McConnell said about the Senate bill, which is similar to a House version passed last week.
“It’s clear that only a bipartisan compromise originating in the Senate can actually become law,” he added, according to Fox News. “One party going it alone would be a non-starter. In my view the House bill is a non-starter.”
“What this bill is trying to do is take Congress out of the business of trying to correct [voter] fraud,” objected Cruz, the only dissenting vote (14-1) on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. “Now, as I said, I understand why Democrats are supporting this bill. What I don’t understand is why Republicans are.”
“[D]emocrats are hell-bent on federalizing elections,” Cruz asserted. “And this bill takes a significant step down that road of putting the federal government in charge of elections – that has been a top Democrat priority for some time.”
Cruz continued “the biggest reason this bill is problematic is it is intended to decrease the ability of the United States Congress to address the very real problem of voter fraud.”
The Texas senator said, at one time, Democrats acknowledged the problem of voter fraud.
“Until suddenly the 2020 election when Democrats began clutching their pearls and insisting there is no voter fraud, it never has happened, and anyone who says that it does happen is wearing a tinfoil hat and is a moonbat conspiracy theorist,” he continued, adding “the Democrat party today has made a decision that voter fraud is affirmatively in its political interest.”
“What this bill does is decreases the ability of Congress to address instances of fraud when it occurs,” Cruz stated. “And I believe Congress has a responsibility to do that.”
In addition to Collins, Senate Republicans who are co-sponsoring the bill are:
- Sen. Rob Portman (OH)
- Sen. Mitt Romney (UT)
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK)
- Sen. Thomas Tillis (NC)
- Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
- Sen. Todd Young (IN)
- Sen. Ben Sasse (NE)
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC)
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA)
- Sen. Pat Toomey (PA)
“Senator McConnell’s support sends an important message,” Collins stated. “The Senate bill is a carefully crafted bipartisan reform that makes sensible and much-needed updates to the archaic and ambiguous Electoral Count Act of 1887.”
Both the House and Senate versions of the bill specify the vice president’s role during a joint session of Congress when electoral votes are counted is “ministerial.”
Additionally, both pieces of legislation would make it more difficult for lawmakers to challenge electors.
The House bill passed last week, 229-203, with nine Republicans joining Democrats. The legislation was sponsored by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) – both members of the House special committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
The Senate bill’s summary states:
- This bill revises the process of casting and counting electoral votes for presidential elections. The bill also revises provisions related to the presidential transition process.
- The bill specifies that the choice of electors must occur in accordance with the laws of the state enacted prior to election day.
- Additionally, the bill identifies each state’s governor (unless otherwise identified in the laws or constitution of a state in effect on election day) as responsible for submitting the certificate of ascertainment identifying the state’s electors. Further, the bill provides for expedited judicial review for any action brought by an aggrieved presidential or vice-presidential candidate arising under the U.S. Constitution or U.S. laws with respect to the issuance or transmission of such a certificate.
- The bill revises the framework for the joint session of Congress to count electoral votes and make a formal declaration of which candidates have been elected President and Vice President. Among other changes, the bill (1) specifies that the role of the Vice President during the joint session shall be ministerial in nature, and (2) raises the objection threshold in Congress to at least one-fifth of the duly chosen and sworn members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
- The bill also revises the presidential transition process, including to (1) allow more than one candidate to receive federal transition resources under certain circumstances, and (2) require additional reporting by the General Services Administration.
“With McConnell behind the effort, and likely near-unanimous support from Senate Democrats, the legislation has a clear path to passing the upper chamber before the end of the year,” Fox News reported Tuesday.
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]