Speed Reads

alternative route

Could Democrats settle for Electoral College reform?

This week "will be dominated" by the congressional battle over whether to change filibuster rules to push through Democrats' voting rights bill, reports Punchbowl News, but there's an alternative measure that may be picking up steam.

Sen. Susan Collins' (R-Maine) effort to change the Electoral Count Act of 1887 is reportedly seen as an increasingly viable option to work around centrist Democrats' refusal to budge on the filibuster. "An increasingly broad and powerful array of lawmakers is coalescing around" the idea, writes Axios, explaining that this strategy would change how Congress tallies Electoral College votes to certify elections. Likely inclusions would be "raising the threshold for objections beyond just a single senator and representative, and clarifying the role of the vice president as merely ceremonial."

Lawmakers from House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to 2020 election-objector Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) have voiced support for changing the ECA. As The Bulwark opines, the existing ECA is ambiguous to the point of being "dangerous," and leaves open a number of questions that could be clarified by Congress to leave less room for error in future elections.

Despite President Biden's emphatic speech calling on Democrats to change the filibuster, any hope of momentum on that front seems to be squelched for now. Even so, reports The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) scheduled a vote on the Freedom to Vote Act on Wednesday, though it's "destined to fail." Given that gloomy outlook, writes Axios, altering the Electoral Count Act instead may be "the best chance of passing any form of election reform in an otherwise divided Congress."