House passes bill to protect electoral count from election deniers

·2 min read

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill intended to prevent a repeat of the sad election-denying saga of 2020 and 2021, in which former President Donald Trump and his supporters tried to overturn the results of the contest.

Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Democrat Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced H.R. 8873 on Monday. Two days later, nine GOP members of Congress joined their colleagues on the other side of the aisle in voting to strengthen provisions in the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and implement new rules making it harder to challenge election results at the state and federal levels.

A similar bill was drafted in the Senate in July.

It was not clear when the Senate would take up the bill, though the evenly divided chamber is not expected to pass the legislation.

Cheney and Lofgren are both members of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the only Republican sitting alongside Cheney on that committee, also joined the 229-person majority supporting the bill against the 203 members of his party who opposed it.

According to CNN, the current version of the House bill makes objecting to certification of electoral votes a bit more challenging than the Senate version. Both bills would increase the number of lawmakers necessary to file an objection and limit the grounds on which those challenges can be made.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) reportedly voiced optimistic that the two chambers of Congress will find a middle ground. Cheney also noted compatibility between the bills.

Only the candidates at the top of presidential tickets would be allowed to challenge a state’s certification of its votes, under the proposed legislation. Their objections would be heard by the judiciary. Both bills reaffirm that the vice president would not have the power to reject any state’s electoral slates, which became a point of debate after President Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

The legislation comes in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the U.S. Capitol, when Trump loyalists fought to keep the 45th president in office after his election loss.

He pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence not to recognize some states’ electoral votes. The Indiana Republican pushed back against those efforts, drawing the wrath of Trump and his diehard supporters.