Republicans Suddenly 'Very Interested' In 'Helping' to 'Reform' The Electoral Count Act
Last night Axios cheerfully reported that reforms to the Electoral Count Act are picking up "growing bipartisan support," as the GOP warms to the idea of clarifying ambiguities in the law that governs Electoral College tabulation. Because apparently this is Axios's first rodeo.
Just a year ago Republicans were pretending Mike Pence had the unilateral authority to reject 18 million votes from five swing states. And now we're supposed to accept that they want to help reform the process? You bet!
Surely this has nothing to do with the fact that the Republican party -- which hasn't won a majority of the popular vote in a presidential election since 2004 -- is planning to allow Republican legislatures to seize control of the electoral process to ensure that their preferred candidate takes their states' electoral votes? Heaven forfend!
It's not even like they're being subtle about it. While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell clutches his pearls over Democrats' "ridiculous" insinuations that "we're not gonna honor the outcome of an election," Georgia Republicans are moving to take over elections in Fulton County, and Arizona Republicans floated a bill that would allow the legislature to recast the state's electoral votes at will.
And yet those babes in the woods at Axios hail a statement from Rep. Jim Banks, head of the Republican Study Committee, as if it might be a good faith effort at Electoral College reform.
"It's a muddled, flawed [act] and Congress must clarify the essential process of certifying elections," said the Indiana congressman who voted to reject electors from Pennsylvania and Arizona and joined in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's preposterous lawsuit demanding to toss out the ballots in Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin as well.
Then Banks added that he's certainly not signing on to some "Trojan horse" for voting rights reform. LOL!
Friends, there is a reason Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected Banks's nomination to the January 6 Select Committee, and it is that he is a partisan hack. There is no way on God's green earth that Banks is interested in reforming the law that governs the official tabulation of electoral votes because he cares about the efficient transition of power. This sumbitch is worried Vice President Kamala Harris might take it into her head on January 6, 2025 to reject electors from states where Republicans rigged them — or stole them outright — particularly since the GOP has now suggested that that's a real thing.
Meanwhile, Democrats have proposed a whole raft of reforms inspired by the the clusterfuckery Republicans unleashed last year as they filed insane lawsuits and drafted batshit memos in their effort to overturn the election. Lest we forget, Rep. Louie Gohmert actually sued Mike Pence to stop him certifying the "defective" swing state electoral votes.
Among the proposed changes, Democrats suggest raising the threshold to object to any state's electoral votes beyond the current one senator and one representative, clarifying the safe harbor provision, and making it more difficult for legislators to seize the electoral votes. Safe bet Banks isn't going to go for that last one.
And not for nothing, but Democrats might want to give a little more thought to their plan to give the Senate president pro tempore responsibility for presiding over the tabulation of electoral votes. In some sense it makes sense to take responsibility away from the vice president, who is quite likely to be on the ballot him- or herself. But if Republicans take back the Senate, that would put Senator Chuck Grassley in charge of rejecting ballots at will, an outcome that is ... not great.
In summary and in conclusion, do not trust Jim Banks. Do not trust the GOP. Ditch the filibuster and pass real voting rights legislation. The end.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.