Democrats’ plans for sweeping voting rights legislation may have hit a dead-end last week, but election law reform remains very much on the table and in fact is being pushed by a bipartisan group of Senators.
Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) convened a zoom meeting of the group Monday, in which they discussed, primarily, making changes to the 1887 Electoral Count Act, such as clarifying the Vice President’s ceremonial role in certifying the votes and increasing the number of objections needed to challenge a state’s electoral votes. Both issues contributed to the contentiousness surrounding the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
The discussion also touched on a number of other potential items, including making it a federal crime to intimidate or threaten election officials.
Republicans unanimously opposed the bill brought forward last week, challenging the Democrats' claim that it was intended to protect access to the ballot box for all Americans.
"This is about one party wanting the power to unilaterally rewrite the rulebook of American elections," said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Minority Leader.
Oklahoma members joined the GOP chorus, calling the bill an attempt to federalize national elections.
"We’ve gotten letters from our own secretary of the State Election Board," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4) in a recent interview, "laying out why this is more expensive, unfair for Oklahoma and will make our elections less secure."
They say any effort to legislate national standards must be done in a truly bipartisan way, "where there’s a consensus achieved, where both sides have input, where both sides are able to knock out the things they find egregious," said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK3).
That is exactly the type of effort Sen. Collins is now leading, albeit in a much narrower election reform bill.