Momentum shifting toward bipartisan election reform

Morning In America

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 06: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks alongside Vice President Kamala Harris during a press conference in the State Dining Room at the White House on November 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) —  With Democrats failing to pass voting rights legislation that had been a priority for them, they are now focusing on bipartisan election reform.

Attention is now on updating the Electoral Count Act, an 1887 law that created the process of how presidential election results are certified. It was this law that allowed lawmakers to challenge the 2020 election results in various states. Overhauling the Election Count Act and fixing vulnerabilities in it could be Democrats’ best chance to address what they are saying is an existential threat to American democracy from former President Donald Trump’s assertions that the election was stolen.

Amending this legislation wouldn’t address the policies Democrats have been talking about when it comes to voting rights, such as allowing all voters to cast ballots by mail or making Election Day a federal holiday. But would put safeguards in so it would be much harder to throw out legitimate election results because of false voter fraud claims, like the ones Trump has been relentless in amplifying that led to an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6.

“I think we can get things done,” President Joe Biden said. “I predict to you, they’ll get something done on the election reform side of this.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said Republicans are willing to work with Democrats to update the law to clarify the role of the vice president and make it harder to overturn legitimate election results.

“I think the advantage of this moment is that the vice president is a Democrat, so hopefully Republicans recognize that clarifying the role of the vice president is in our interest,” Romney said.

But some Democratic leaders have pushed back, saying this is no replacement for their voting rights bills.

“What we’ve said it’s no substitute for dealing with voting rights,” Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-California, said. “We should not give our Republican colleagues an out to let them say that they’ve solved these issues of voting rights.”

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said working with Democrats to reform the law is worthwhile, but not an indictment of Republicans who challenged or questioned election results in 2020.

Romney told NewsNation’s Joe Khalil that the bipartisan group working on the new legislation is meeting virtually Monday to discuss details on it. Right now, more than a dozen Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are working on this, Romney said.

Hours before the Democrat-led voting legislation failed, NewsNation’s Allison Harris asked Biden if he thought the upcoming midterm elections would be fairly conducted if the Democrat-led voting legislation didn’t pass.

“It all depends on whether or not we’re able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election,” Biden said.

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