Jimmy Carter & H.W. Bush Sec. Of State James Baker Urge Electoral Count Act Reform
Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush chief of staff and Secretary of State James Baker jointedly penned an article in the Wall Street Journal calling on the Senate to progress on Election Count Act reform.
“We stand on opposite sides of the partisan divide, but we believe it is better to search for solutions together than to remain divided,” the article began.
They stressed the importance of updating the Electoral Count Act, which dates back to 1887, so it doesn’t affect the upcoming 2024 election. Carter and Baker also praised the Senate bipartisan group that is reportedly nearing a deal on a framework that will define the vice president’s role in counting electors and increase the number of lawmakers that would need to object to an elector from the current threshold of just one person.
They also raised more questions that they urged the bipartisan group to consider, including: “Under what circumstances can a state legislature choose electors if a disaster disrupts voting? What would be the proper response if a governor certified the slate of the candidate finishing second in the state’s popular vote? What should a state do if a county’s officials refuse to certify election results so the state’s count is incomplete? What happens if a state sends competing slates of electors to Congress?”
The bipartisan group was formed shortly after the January 6, 2021, pressuring of then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject certain electors in swing states in the certification of President Joe Biden‘s 2020 election win under his broadly defined role in the Electoral Count Act.
Finally, Carter and Baker emphasized the need for reform, calling on lawmakers to set aside politics.
“The need to reform the Electoral Count Act is too great for our elected leaders to get bogged down in the zero-sum game of politics that characterizes Washington today,” they wrote. “There will be a time and place to debate important proposals addressing voter access and turnout, ballot security and other election-related issues. But such competing efforts should not be included in current talks about reforming the Electoral Count Act. Doing so would be a recipe for gridlock and failure.”