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This is the worst-case scenario for electoral reform

This is the worst-case scenario for electoral reform


The US system of government is still plagued by the ghosts of the 2020 election.

Exorcism. The House and Senate are planning to pass a bill to explain, among other things, that no, the vice president cannot just reject the results of a certified election, and no, states cannot send competing slates of electors to Washington. This would put an end to the January 6, 2021 uprising.

Embrace. Meanwhile, if the Supreme Court’s conservative majority decides to endorse a portion of the bizarre legal theory that underlies that very same effort to annul the 2020 election, it may be moving in the path of creating anti-democratic nightmares.



legislatures without bodies. Republican lawmakers and the attorney who crafted then-President Donald Trump’s plan to cling to power despite the results of the 2020 election contend that the Constitution actually implies state legislatures have the authority to decide on federal elections in their states without state court review.

It gives the Constitution the impression of being creaky and stuccoed over rather than the firm foundation of Western liberal democracy. This is because the conservative Supreme Court justices, who take pride in their fidelity to the Constitution’s text, want to hear more about retextualizing this one word, “legislatures,” after more than 200 years.

Reform of the Electoral Count Act enjoys bipartisan support.

Bipartisan ideas on Capitol Hill would improve the Electoral Count Act, a complicated and poorly written law from the days of the horse and buggy – when there were actually disputed elections – that sets down the procedures for gathering and tallying Electoral College votes.

This week, the House approved its version. A vote on the Senate version, which has 10 Republicans supporting it to avoid a filibuster, is anticipated later this year. After Election Day, the two sides might come to an agreement.

The competing House and Senate legislation are stacked against one another by Politifact, which discovers a number of similarities. The key distinctions are between what constitutes a “failed election,” which calls the results of a state’s election into question, and the number of members on Capitol Hill need to object to a state’s electors. The House bill extends the period of time states have to resolve election-related litigation and issues.

The House bill stipulates that for an objection to be raised and upheld, it must receive the approval of one-third of each chamber. It lists five distinct and limited grounds for objecting. The Senate’s version of the bill does not place any restrictions on the kind of objections that may be made and merely requires a majority of support in each chamber to oppose.

There are currently no limitations on the kinds of objections that may be raised, and just one member from each chamber must object. Because of this, 147 Republicans from both chambers had the opportunity to object when Congress met to certify the election on January 6, 2021, and they did so for a number of different reasons.

Reforming the Electoral Count Act won’t be a particularly partisan notion for very long.

Since none of the House Republicans who backed their measure will be in power come January, it is now time for supporters to make these points clear.

All nine of the Republicans who backed the House plan either lost their primary elections or decided not to compete for reelection.

Despite the fact that Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a supporter of President Trump, is a co-sponsor of the Senate reform plan, the majority of Republicans who openly support it are retiring.

Meanwhile, a sizable part of the Republicans running for office in November (at least 22 candidates for governor and 11 candidates for secretary of state) have disseminated, supported, or expressed tolerance with 2020 election denialism.

perhaps changing the Constitution

The Supreme Court will hear a case this term that could completely reinterpret the Constitution, possibly with unexpected repercussions, while the House and Senate are considering ways to improve the process.

The so-called independent state legislature theory, which emerged from Trump’s failed attempt to rig the 2020 election, contends that the Constitution, in spite of precedent and history, requires state legislatures to choose the date, location, and procedure of House and Senate elections and that Congress may change them.

The current case, Moore v. Harper, concerns North Carolina’s new congressional district lines, which were redrawn in favour of Democrats after being gerrymandered by the state’s Republican legislature. Supporters of the notion want legislatures to have new authority over congressional maps because the Constitution does not clearly provide that state courts can supervise state legislatures on the topic.

State legislatures, which are frequently dominated by one party, are believed to be unfettered by the natural equilibrium and may move unexpectedly to influence elections if the Supreme Court grants them new authority.

Ariane de Vogue of AWN provides a detailed analysis of the autonomous state legislative hypothesis.



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