Congress’s first complete effort to stop someone like former President Donald Trump from attempting to steal a presidential election again is hidden in the year-end omnibus spending bill.
Developed by senators from both parties and supported by leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, the Electoral Count Reform Act (ECRA) eliminates many uncertainties in US law regarding how the presidential result is calculated and establishes new measures against interference with the outcomes.
After losing the critical swing states in 2020, Trump worked tirelessly to try to reverse Biden’s victories there. He put pressure on virtually every institution or figure involved in the process, including members of Congress, state legislators, and the vice president, suggesting that they should reject the results of the statewide election rather than honor them.
The ECRA runs through that list of institutions and offices and attempts to make it more challenging for any of them to corruptly change a state’s outcome. It was created especially with Trump’s abuses of power in mind.
What does the Electoral Count Reform Act involve?
The most effective method to explain the reforms is to go through each institution or office participating in the vote count one at a time.
State legislatures: In 2020, Trump’s campaign expected that GOP-controlled state legislatures would approve new legislation giving their states’ election to him rather than Biden. To that end, he invited GOP legislative leaders to the White House to put pressure on them to act. Although there was no legislative interference with the state results, there were concerns that there might be in the future.