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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Democrats face an election dilemma: compromise or keep pushing?

One of the proposed changes makes it clear that the vice president has only a ceremonial and administrative role in counting the electoral votes. Another would make it much more difficult to raise objections under the law, which currently allows one senator and member of the House of Representatives to challenge the state’s electoral votes. In the bill drafted by Mr. King, Mr. Durbin and Ms. Klobuchar, voters could only be challenged if a third of each house objected.

In the House of Representatives, four members of the committee to investigate the January 6 attack — Rep. Liz Cheney, R. Wyoming, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Adam B. Schiff of California and Jamie Ruskin of Maryland, all Democrats — are also working to rewrite the Election Count Act . They also debated whether to expand their bill to include measures to block anti-democratic electoral practices at the state level, such as allowing party legislators to choose presidential electors instead of voters.

Ms. Collins’ group discussed several measures, such as expanding the allowable use of federal election grants, currently mainly for the purchase of non-Internet-connected voting machines, including the recruitment and training of poll workers, the purchase of voting machines that create paper ballots, and the expansion of cybersecurity. efforts. She said the group also agreed that tough new penalties should be introduced to discourage harassment and intimidation of election commissions by Mr. Trump’s supporters, a provision taken from the Freedom of the Vote Act.

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They are still debating how far they can go in blocking the removal of non-partisan election commission members without cause by party government officials or legislators. The Democratic Voting Rights Bill would make such an act a federal offense if the election official cannot be proven.

For Democrats, this provision is a necessity. And they say that for Ms. Collins’ measure to have any impact, Republicans would have to pass some provisions from the voting rights bill to combat voter suppression, such as a minimum number of early voting days or a compromise provision designed by Manchin, who passes voter identification laws but ensures that the set of identifications is acceptable.

“It is very important to ensure that the votes are counted in accordance with both the provisions of the Freedom to Vote Act and the Electoral Counting Act, but this is still no substitute for protecting the right of the people to vote from the very beginning,” said Ms Klobuchar, Chairperson. the Rules Committee, which will consider such legislation.

Ms Collins said her group, which includes two more Republicans and two more Democrats who have not publicly announced their participation, will meet again a week after the voting rights bill is blocked.

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