Following the events of January 2021, the processes for counting electoral votes has received renewed attention—and some members of Congress are working together to fix it.
The background: The law that governs the counting of electoral votes following a presidential election, called the Electoral Count Act, was written in 1887.
- Over the course of more than a century, the law has remained the same, even as ambiguities have caused conflicts and upheavals—most notably after the 2020 election.
- In the past two years, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME), have come together to develop the Electoral Count Reform Act, which is intended to remove ambiguities around the counting of electoral votes.
The proposal: While the ECRA is still being drafted, a few key provisions have been discussed. For example:
- The ECRA would clarify that the vice president’s role in vote counting is ceremonial, and that he or she is not empowered to throw out or change any state’s electoral votes.
- The bill raises the threshold for members of Congress to object to a state’s slate of electoral votes.
- Certain versions of the bill contain provisions that would increase election security, including by increasing penalties against individuals who threaten election officials.
- The bill would make clear that state legislatures cannot override the popular vote in their states or throw a state’s electors to someone other than the candidate chosen by their voters.
- The bill would also clear up ambiguities about presidential transition funds, ensuring that these funds can be disbursed to both candidates in the event of a disputed election in order to prevent delays.
Where we are: The current proposal has 17 cosponsors and is bipartisan. It has been through a hearing in the Rules Committee in the Senate, and it seems likely that some form of the ECRA will be considered this fall.
Our take: “The National Association of Manufacturers supports a clear, secure democratic process that doesn’t confer any partisan advantage and reduces opportunities to exploit ambiguities in the law,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “A stable democracy is good for manufacturers and good for the world. That’s something we can all agree upon.”
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org