Monday October 3rd, 2022 7:04AM

House to vote on election law overhaul in response to Jan. 6

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House pushed ahead Wednesday with legislation that would revamp the rules for certifying the results of a presidential election as lawmakers accelerate their response to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and Donald Trump’s failed attempt to remain in power.

The legislation would overhaul an arcane 1800s-era statute known as the Electoral Count Act that governs, along with the U.S. Constitution, how states and Congress certify electors and declare presidential election winners. The House planned a vote on the bill after afternoon debate.

While that process has long been routine and ceremonial, Trump and a group of his aides and lawyers tried to exploit loopholes in the law in an attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election.

The bill would set new parameters around the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress that happens every four years after a presidential election. The day turned violent last year after hundreds of Trump’s supporters interrupted the proceedings, broke into the building and threatened the lives of then-Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress. The rioters echoed Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud and wanted Pence to block Democrat Joe Biden’s victory as he presided over the joint session.

The legislation intends to ensure that future Jan. 6 sessions are “as the constitution envisioned, a ministerial day,” said Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican who co-sponsored the legislation with House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif. Both Cheney and Lofgren are also members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, another member of the Jan. 6 panel, said during the start of the House debate that the bill would modernize the elections law "to make sure that the will of the people is vindicated at every level."

The bill, which is similar to legislation moving through the Senate, would clarify in the law that the vice president’s role presiding over the count is only ceremonial and also sets out that each state can only send one certified set of electors. Trump’s allies had unsuccessfully tried to put together alternate slates of illegitimate pro-Trump electors in swing states where Biden won.

The legislation would increase the threshold for individual lawmakers’ objections to any state's electoral votes, requiring a third of the House and a third of the Senate to object to trigger votes on the results in both chambers. Currently, only one lawmaker in the House and one lawmaker in the Senate has to object. The House bill would set out very narrow grounds for those objections, an attempt to thwart baseless or politically motivated challenges. The legislation also would require courts to get involved if state or local officials want to delay a presidential vote or refuse to certify the results.

The House vote comes as the Senate is moving on a similar track with enough Republican support to virtually ensure passage before the end of the year. After months of talks, House Democrats introduced the legislation on Monday and are holding a quick vote two days later in order to send the bill across the Capitol and start to resolve differences. A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation this summer and a Senate committee is expected to vote on it next week.

While the House bill is more expansive than the Senate version, the two bills cover similar ground and members in both chambers are optimistic that they can work out the differences. While few House Republicans are expected to vote for the legislation — most are still allied with Trump — supporters are encouraged by the bipartisan effort in the Senate.

“Both sides have an incentive to want a set of clear rules, and this is an antiquated law that no one understands,” said Benjamin Ginsburg, a longtime GOP lawyer who consulted with lawmakers as they wrote the bill. “All parties benefit from clarity.”

House GOP leaders disagree, and are encouraging their members to vote against the legislation. They say the involvement of courts could drag out elections and that the bill would take rights away from states.

The bill is an “attempt to federalize our elections,” Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., said on the House floor. He argued that voters are more focused on the economy and other issues than elections law.

“In my area of Pennsylvania, nobody is talking about this," Reschenthaler said.

Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, Lofgren’s GOP counterpart on the House Administration Committee, said Tuesday that Democrats are “desperately trying to talk about their favorite topic, and that is former president Donald Trump."

Democrats said the bill was not only a response to Trump, but also a way to prevent objections and mischief from all candidates in the future.

“If you think that this legislation is an attack on President Trump, you simply haven’t read the legislation because there’s nothing in there attacking President Trump,” Raskin said. “This is about reforming the Electoral Count Act so it works for the American people.”


AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

Follow AP's r

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, General House Election News
© Copyright 2022
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Muscogee get their say in national park plan for Georgia
Hundreds of Native Americans returned to their historic capital in Macon, Georgia, this weekend for the 30th annual Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration
12:19AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Biden at UN to call Russian war an affront to body's charter
President Joe Biden is ready to make the case at the U.N. General Assembly that Russia's “naked aggression” in Ukraine is an affront to the heart of what the international body stands
12:07AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Bettor up! Record spending on California gambling question
A campaign that could bring legalized sports betting to California has become the most expensive ballot-initiative fight in U.S. history
12:06AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
High inflation in sight, Fed to signal more rate hikes ahead
Last month, when Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell spoke at an economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, he issued a blunt warning: The Fed’s drive to curb inflation by aggressively raising interest rates, he said, would “bring some pain” for Americans
12:01AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Fiona threatens to become Category 4 storm headed to Bermuda
Hurricane Fiona is threatening to strengthen into a Category 4 storm as it lashes the Turks and Caicos Islands and was forecast to squeeze past Bermuda later this week
12:00AM ( 50 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: How alleged plot exploited pandemic to net $250M
The Department of Justice has charged 48 people in what prosecutors have called a scheme to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to defraud the U.S. government of $250 million
11:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Aaron Judge hits 60th homer, within 1 of Maris' AL record
Aaron Judge hit his 60th home run, matching Babe Ruth and moving within one of Roger Maris’ American League season record
10:39PM ( 2 hours ago )
Fiona swipes Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico faces big cleanup
Hurricane Fiona is blasting the Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 3 storm after devastating Puerto Rico, where most people remain without electricity or running water
10:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
Migrants sue Florida governor over Martha's Vineyard flights
Venezuelan migrants flown from San Antonio to the upscale Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard have sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his transportation secretary for engaging in a “fraudulent and discriminatory scheme” to relocate them
10:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Feds: 47 exploited pandemic to steal $250M from food program
Federal authorities have charged 47 people in what they're calling the largest fraud scheme yet to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by stealing and defrauding the government of $250 million
5:38PM ( 7 hours ago )
FDA concedes delays in response to baby formula shortage
U.S. health regulators say their response to the ongoing infant formula shortage was slowed by delays in processing a whistleblower complaint and test samples from the nation’s largest formula factory
5:25PM ( 7 hours ago )
Beyond Meat executive charged with biting man in fight
A top executive at plant-based food company Beyond Meat has been charged with felony battery after a fight outside a college football game in which he was accused of biting a man’s nose
4:46PM ( 8 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Trial opens for QAnon follower who chased officer at Capitol
A trial is underway for an Iowa man whose confrontation with police created some of the most memorable images from a mob's attack on the U.S. Capitol
8:47PM ( 4 hours ago )
Mail ballot fight persists in key states, sure to slow count
As Election Day approaches, the fight over mail-in ballots is back
7:57PM ( 4 hours ago )
GOP's hard-line tactics on migrants refocus midterm debate
The Republican governors of Florida and Texas have delivered migrants on planes and buses to Washington, D
6:29PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Ad spending shows Dems hinging midterm hopes on abortion
Democrats are pumping an unprecedented amount of money into advertising related to abortion rights
12:45PM ( 12 hours ago )
EXPLAINER: Bused, flown migrants can live in US -- for now
Republican governors have been sending more migrants released at the U.S. border with Mexico to Democratic strongholds, raising questions about their legal status, how they are lured on board buses and planes, and the cost to taxpayers
6:46AM ( 18 hours ago )
Judge orders ex-Kansas cop released for jail pending trial
A former Kansas City, Kansas, police detective accused of preying on poor Black females for decades will be released from custody pending his trial
9:13PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
El Salvador president re-election bid draws strong reaction
In the hours after El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced he would seek re-election despite a constitutional ban, opinion quickly divided
6:09PM ( 4 days ago )
Breaches of voting machine data raise worries for midterms
The revelation earlier this week that federal prosecutors are involved in investigations of suspected voting system breaches across the U.S. is fueling questions about the security of voting machines just two months before the midterm elections
5:58PM ( 4 days ago )
Michigan man gets 5 years in prison for role in Capitol riot
A Michigan man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for his role in the U.S. Capitol attack by a mob that disrupted Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory
2:26PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Elections
Biden, Dems see both political, economic wins in rail deal
President Joe Biden is hailing a labor agreement that avoided a strike that would have shut down railroads across the country as a win for America
6:17PM ( 5 days ago )
Oz, Fetterman both target suburbs in key Pa. Senate race
With the fall campaign election season in high gear, Democrat John Fetterman and his Republican rival for U
3:33PM ( 5 days ago )
Swedish PM formally resigns after right-wing bloc wins vote
Sweden’s Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has handed in her resignation after a right-wing bloc that includes a nationalist, anti-immigration party won a narrow majority in Sweden’s parliament
6:04AM ( 5 days ago )
General Election News
Kenya’s new president promises ambitious climate plan
Kenya’s newly elected president William Ruto said that climate change will be key to the government’s agenda and made an ambitious pledge to ramp up clean energy and phase out fossil fuels for electricity by 2030
6:22AM ( 6 days ago )
MyPillow exec Lindell says FBI agents seized his cellphone
MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell says federal agents have seized his cellphone
11:11PM ( 1 week ago )
New Hampshire caps primaries with fresh test of GOP's future
New Hampshire Republicans are picking their party’s candidate to face off with incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in a key midterm race the GOP has long seen as winnable and which could ultimately decide control of the chamber after November
8:28PM ( 1 week ago )
General Presidential Election News
After cancellation, Dems look to reduce future student debt
House Democrats are proposing new legislation that would increase federal student aid, lower interest rates on loans and take other steps to make college more affordable
11:38AM ( 5 days ago )
Ashley Kalus wins GOP primary for Rhode Island governor
A businessperson seeking office for the first time, Ashley Kalus, has won the Republican primary for Rhode Island governor, defeating a rival who has served time in state prison
8:47PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump-backed Diehl to take on Healey in Mass. governor race
A former state representative endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Geoff Diehl, has won the Republican nomination for Massachusetts governor over a businessman, Chris Doughty, who was considered the more moderate candidate in the race
5:28PM ( 1 week ago )
General House Election News
The Muscogee get their say in national park plan for Georgia
Hundreds of Native Americans returned to their historic capital in Macon, Georgia, this weekend for the 30th annual Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration
12:19AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Biden at UN to call Russian war an affront to body's charter
President Joe Biden is ready to make the case at the U.N. General Assembly that Russia's “naked aggression” in Ukraine is an affront to the heart of what the international body stands
12:07AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Bettor up! Record spending on California gambling question
A campaign that could bring legalized sports betting to California has become the most expensive ballot-initiative fight in U.S. history
12:06AM ( 44 minutes ago )
At UN, hope peeks through the gloom despite a global morass
Hope can be hard to find anywhere these days
12:06AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Increase in Venezuelan migration is felt across US
Venezuelans have surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest nationality stopped at the U.S. border in August after Mexicans
12:04AM ( 46 minutes ago )