Romney on election reform: I never got a call from the White House

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo
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Sen. Mitt Romney said Sunday that he “never got a call from the White House” to negotiate bringing Republicans and Democrats together to create bipartisan voting reform.

The Utah Republican lamented the lack of bipartisanship on the pivotal issue of voting rights, saying, “We can work together on almost every issue where there's common ground.“

The nation is severely divided, “there’s no question about that,” Romney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” And despite what President Joe Biden said regarding uniting the country when he was elected, his comments last week regarding voting reform in Georgia “did not suggest he's trying to pull us back together again.”

The legislation favored by the White House is widely expected to be defeated this week, with all 50 Senate Republicans aligned against it.

“He's got to recognize that when he was elected, people were not looking for him to transform America. They were looking to get back to normal. To stop the crazy,” Romney said of Biden.

Everybody's talking about Georgia because the president went there, Romney said. But “it's easier to vote in Georgia, even under the new legislation, than it is to vote in Delaware, or to vote in New York, or to vote in New Jersey. And no one is saying, ‘Oh, New York has discriminatory practices.’”

Opponents of pending election reform legislation claim it would take power away from the states and have the federal government essentially run elections. The voting rights legislation is “clearly a political play to appeal to a base in the Democratic Party,” Romney said.

Romney’s solution — and that of about 12 other senators, both Republicans and Democrats — is to reform the Electoral Count Act. That 1887 law governs how members of Congress handle Electoral College results. But, he said, “An effort to really work at a bipartisan basis hasn't happened yet.”

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