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Bipartisan Senate Framework Updates ECA, Better Protects Election Workers and Improves Voting Experience

Washington, DC – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Matthew Weil released the following statement regarding the bipartisan Senate framework to fix the Electoral Count Act: 

“We cannot risk another presidential election without fixing the Electoral Count Act. The aftermath of the 2020 election revealed significant ambiguities in our system for choosing the president that were too easily exploited to foment distrust and spur attempts to disrupt the lawful transition of power. This bipartisan Senate framework is a critical step for shoring up vulnerabilities, protecting election workers, and improving the voting experience.  

“These proposals further clarify the specific roles and duties of Congress and the vice president in counting the Electoral College certificates—both of which were central to 2020 conspiracies. The proposals also better ensure that the votes of the people—and not the intervention of political officials—decide who wins a state’s electors.  

“In an op-ed published this week in the Wall Street Journal, former Democratic President Jimmy Carter and former Republican Secretary of State James A. Baker III outlined the potential ‘disaster’ in our electoral system if Congress fails to pass these reforms. They wrote, ‘The threat of confusion remains, left unclosed, loopholes in the act could allow a repeat of the same destructive path that occurred in 2021.’ We could not agree more. 

“Much needed protections for election workers—who came under incredible threat during and after the 2020 election—and improvements to the federal voting infrastructure—like improving election mail and renewing the long-expired authorization for the Elections Assistance Commission—are also included. 

“Debates over the political ‘rules of the game’ can be fraught with suspicion and jockeying for advantage. When these rules change, there must be buy-in from both parties to maintain trust in the system. Sens. Manchin and Collins should be commended for finding common ground on a matter that is so foundational to our democracy: faith in the system that selects our leaders.” 

Note: Matthew Weil, executive director of BPC’s Democracy Program is available for comment.