Congress must defuse the ‘ticking time bomb’ of 2024 | Government and politics
After crowds stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, with some chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” – the Republican vice president has rejected calls from his own sitting president to overturn a free and fair election.
Pence ignored Trump’s public bullying and convoluted legal advice from Trump’s lawyers, who wanted Pence to exploit the ambiguity of the Voter Count Act of 1887 to overrule the will of the people.
Pence appeared before the Senate at 3:41 a.m. on January 7, after rioters were finally expelled from the chambers, and certified Democratic President Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory, narrowly averting a constitutional crisis. .
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“Now there are members of our party who believe that in my position as Joint Session Chairman, I had the authority to reject or return state-certified electoral votes,” Pence recalled last year at the Ronald Reagan Library. “But the Constitution does not give the vice president such authority until after the joint session of Congress.
“And the truth is,” he continued, “there is almost no idea more un-American than the idea that anyone could choose the American president. The presidency belongs to the American people and to the American people alone.
He’s right, and all Americans should be proud of the peaceful transfer of power that Pence oversaw and that defines American democracy. back to george washington. Biden, when he was vice president, had also certified Trump’s electoral victory four years earlier, after the 2016 election. Biden did so despite objections of several Democratic lawmakers.
But Americans cannot rely on statesmen to always do the right thing. The Electoral Count Act of 1887 is a “ticking time bomb”, in the words of UW-Madison professor and election expert Barry Burden, and it is heading for a constitutional confrontation as early as 2024.
With Wisconsin’s congressional delegation firmly backed, Congress must rewrite or repeal the Voter Count Act of 1887 so that its language can never again be used as the basis for overturning the people’s choice for president.
The language should be crystal clear that the role of the vice president is ceremonial. Congress should also raise the threshold for objections, so that a few lawmakers determined to disrupt cannot block debates based on conspiracy theories or self-promotion. Challenges to our elections should be decided by our courts, not by the politicians whose names appear on the ballot. Multiple recounts, audits and more than 60 court rulings have dismissed allegations of widespread fraud by Trump and his supporters in the 2020 election, which Trump definitely lost.
“Everyone agrees that the voter count law is unclear, not internally consistent,” Burden told the State Journal last week. “There’s a whole range of interpretations of what it even says, and it hasn’t been tested in 150 years. He is therefore waiting there for a kind of time bomb to potentially create a constitutional crisis.
Now is the perfect time to defuse this outdated act, as bipartisan support for clear procedures governing presidential certification grows in the Senate and House. Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine are working on a consensus proposal. The same goes for Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, a member of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol. The same goes for Independent Senator Angus King of Maine.
And Wednesday, Biden predicts that a two-party solution will be made.
Some Democrats still want sweeping changes to election laws, many of which we support, such as ending gerrymandering and allowing convenient voting via secure drop boxes and early voting. But the Democrats’ broader proposal failed to clear the Senate last week, with two Democrats refusing to repeal the filibuster.
Democrats need to move on and accept a small victory for our democracy, a victory that will stand the test of time and help preserve our democracy. Rewriting the law on the electoral count must be a top priority this spring.