Jan. 6 Panel Unveils Election Guardrails To Prevent Future MAGA Election Steal

House Jan. 6 Committee vice chair Liz Cheney and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) talk during a hearing on June 13, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The House Jan. 6 Committee on Sunday outlined its proposed reforms to the Electoral Count Act (ECA) to stop ex-President Donald Trump or anyone else from trying to overturn an election.

Committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) announced in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the panel will officially unveil its proposal this week that would “protect the rule of law and ensure that future efforts to attack the integrity of presidential elections can’t succeed.”

Then Cheney and Lofgren laid out the “four fundamental principles” of the committee’s proposed changes to the ECA.

The first principle strikes right at the heart of Trump’s election steal scheme: A reform that solidifies the vice president’s role in counting states’ electoral votes as purely ministerial, not one that has the power to hijack the process — which Trump, of course, tried to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to do.

Secondly, Cheney and Lofgren wrote, objections during Congress’ electoral count would be limited to “explicit constitutional requirements for candidate and elector eligibility.” Additionally, the threshold to be able to challenge the count would be raised to one-third of the lawmakers in each chamber.

The committee’s third proposed reform aims to address a situation in which a governor or another state-level official tries to withhold election results from Congress. If the governor or official does so, presidential candidates “should be able to sue in federal court to ensure that Congress receives the state’s lawful certificate.”

That change is a clear response to election-denying nominees for governor and secretary of state, such as Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who would have the power to meddle in the 2024 elections and beyond if they win.

Finally, the ECA needs to be reformed to “make clear” that state lawmakers can’t retroactively change the rules of an election after the fact in order to change the outcome, Cheney and Lofgren wrote.

“Our proposal is intended to preserve the rule of law for all future presidential elections by ensuring that self-interested politicians cannot steal from the people the guarantee that our government derives its power from the consent of the governed,” the committee members asserted. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the House and the Senate toward this goal.”

The panel’s proposal comes several months after a bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation to reform the ECA.

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