Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn
Americans deserve to know their votes will be counted and their voices heard in our elections. Reform of the antiquated Electoral Count Act is an important step to safeguard the results of free and fair elections. President Trump and his associates came exceptionally close to engineering an overthrow of the 2020 election, as the January 6th Select Committee’s hearings have made clear. They did so in part by making bogus assertions about how the Congress should discharge its certification duties of the presidential election, inciting a violent mob, and convincing 147 Congressional Republicans to vote to overturn the election. Part of this plot included testing arcane provisions of the law that must be modernized and clarified before it happens again.
The Senate must carefully vet the proposal introduced by a bipartisan group of senators today. Its introduction demonstrates significant bipartisan consensus on the need to address this issue.
Reform of the Electoral Count Act – as important and necessary as it is – does not fully address the threats to an inclusive and representative democracy, including the wave of racially discriminatory voting laws that have been introduced throughout the country, and this bill is no substitute for comprehensive voting rights legislation. Congress must also pass legislation to secure every American’s freedom to vote – including legislation to repair and strengthen the Voting Rights Act and to set fair national election administration standards.
January 6 was a warning, and one that cannot be ignored. Failure to act is not an option and imperils the country’s future.
We learned from Trump that the peaceful transfer of power from a candidate who loses an election can never again be taken for granted. Congress must move to guarantee that in America the voters – and only the voters – decide the outcome of our elections.
Our representatives in Washington must act now to guarantee not only the freedom to vote but also that every vote be counted, and that our elected officials chosen by ‘we the people’ are sworn into office.