The Democrats’ voting rights bill was blocked in the Senate earlier this week, but there is still hope that some reforms can be enacted in the election space. On Capitol Hill, both sides are willing to talk reform to the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which outlines how votes should be counted.

The goal is to make it more difficult to discard certified electoral votes when Congress comes together to count them.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), leaders of a bipartisan Senate group, said a Zoom meeting will happen over the next week.

“The model for coming up with an election reform bill that is truly bipartisan,” Collins said. “That would address many of the problems that arose on January 6 and that would help restore confidence in our elections is the approach that we used with the bipartisan infrastructure bill. That’s what worked.”

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There is no legislative text yet and the lawmakers are still in the idea phase. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said that the Zoom discussion will include each person bringing a list of items they want and don’t want on the bill and see where they can come to an agreement.

Collins noted that she was encouraged that members on both sides were open to discussion to improve the system to ensure the votes are counted correctly.

“It means looking at additional protections against violence and threats for poll workers and election officials. Those are some of the issues that we’re looking at,” she added.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that President Biden is open to making changes to the Electoral Count Act, but that he does not view it as a substitute for passing the voting rights bills.

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