what's the Electoral count number Act? - NPR

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Senate Minority chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. McConnell says he may well be open to reforming the Electoral count number Act. Drew Angerer/Getty photos cover caption

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Senate Minority chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate ground at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. McConnell says he may be open to reforming the Electoral count number Act.

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it's a legislation that has been described as "essentially unintelligible," "arcane" and "extremely complicated."

or not it's also the legislation that determines who could be president.

The Electoral count number Act of 1887 has been derided by way of felony experts basically due to the fact it was first written, and this week, participants of both events in Congress opened the door to updating the legislation. as the first little bit of balloting-specific coverage to even get a sniff of bipartisanship in contemporary years, or not it's a awesome building.

but it's nevertheless removed from a sure component.

right here's a short overview of what the legislations is and the place issues stand.

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The Electoral count Act got here as a reaction to the presidential election of 1876, which saw Democrat Samuel Tilden win the frequent vote however eventually lose the presidency to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes on account of contested election results coming from three Southern states under the control of Reconstruction governments: Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana.

The three states every sent in dissimilar competing electoral returns, and Congress had no guidelines in location to cope with any such scenario.

So, it created an advert hoc commission to make a decision the presidency, which ended up giving the states' returns, and with them the presidency, to Hayes.

Democrats at the time were furious over the resolution and only authorized it in a deal commonly used because the Compromise of 1877, which stipulated that Republicans agreed to end Reconstruction and withdraw federal troops from former accomplice states.

A decade later, Congress handed the Electoral count Act into law to evade identical instances in the future, however "the crafters of this legislation unluckily did a horrific job," says Rebecca eco-friendly, the co-director of the Election law application at William & Mary law school.

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"one of the most processes just don't make experience in the modern world," she talked about.

The legislation is "terribly complicated" and "removed from the mannequin of statutory drafting," in line with an analysis by means of the country wide project drive on Election Crises (of which green is a member), but the legislation does create a framework and timeline for when states should have their election outcomes finalized.

in keeping with the legislations, the Electoral college is to meet in states across the country on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December to cast their votes.

If a state has finalized its effects six days before then, in line with the ECA, then these effects qualify for "secure harbor" fame — that means Congress need to treat them because the "conclusive" outcomes, despite the fact that, for example, a state's legislature sends in a competing set of consequences.

however the legislations additionally permits participants of Congress to quite simply object to consequences submitted by way of states and to lengthen the counting method, even with out professional issues, and in response to criminal specialists, it does not do a good enough job clarifying the vp's function. Then-vp Mike Pence's role became the center of attention of efforts on Jan. 6, 2021, to overturn the last election.

"In our view, modernizing the ECA can also smartly be the single most crucial step Congress can take to keep away from a disaster in the next contested presidential election," writes the country wide project force on Election Crises in its record of techniques for updating the legislations.

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For years, and especially due to the fact that ultimate yr's attack on the Capitol, Democrats were clamoring for Republicans to guard what they see as the fragile guardrails of democracy with federal law.

And this week, it seems as if for the primary time, Republicans may be willing to play ball related to the Electoral count Act.

"It definitely has some flaws. And it is worth, I think, discussing," referred to Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in an interview with Politico on Wednesday.

reasonable Democrats Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., additionally recommended searching on the legislation, but a few extra liberal Democrats didn't. as an alternative, they made it clear that they see Republican interest in reform of the counting method as a means for the birthday celebration to avoid enticing with different structural protections of voting rights.

"Some scorekeeping concerns little if the video game is rigged," talked about Senate Majority chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Election specialists, youngsters, are urging Democrats to have interaction in strengthening the elections process anywhere there is a glimmer of bipartisanship.

"It does not tackle the larger issues with how our elections are run, but that noted, it looks like a reasonably straightforward region to delivery," spoke of green, of William & Mary. "It seems to be low-hanging fruit."

it's in particular crucial to do it this 12 months, said Ned Foley, an election law knowledgeable at the Ohio State college.

"The time to address [these problems] is now," Foley stated. "now could be the highest veil of lack of knowledge: the place both political parties do not know precisely what the lay of the land goes to be in '24 and '25, and so there may be a more advantageous opportunity of bipartisan consensus on the clear tactics for governing the method."

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