Merkley: Electoral Count Reform Strengthens Underpinnings of Government

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after the Senate Rules Committee held a markup and passed the Electoral Count Reform Act, bipartisan legislation to further clarify the Vice President’s role in counting Electoral College votes:

“At its most basic level, the idea of democracy is simple and obvious: whoever gets the most votes wins. And here in our democracy, when it comes to the contest for President, whoever gets the most Electoral College votes wins. And no one, not even the Vice President of the United States, has the right or the authority to change that.

“Sadly, that basic tenet of our democracy was threatened on January 6th by those wishing to ignore and overturn the will of ‘We the People.’ These individuals tried to exploit perceived gaps and ambiguities in the Electoral Count Act.

“Today, with the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022, we begin to right those wrongs and to strengthen the underpinnings of this great experiment in government of, by, and for the people. We do so by clarifying the Vice President’s ceremonial role in the counting of the electoral votes; ensuring that, unless stated otherwise, only a state’s governor can submit a certificate of electors; and by setting out basic rules for requiring that those electors be selected before Election Day.

“This is an important start towards protecting our democracy – one that I strongly support. Let us be very clear, however: we still have a lot of work to do to ensure not only that all votes in the ballot box are counted, but that every American has the right and the ability to place their vote into that ballot box.

“I strongly support passage of the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022 and thank all those who added their time, energy, and insights into crafting it. And I look forward to continuing to work to protect the freedom to vote and ensure that future generations continue to have a democracy that truly reflects the will of ‘We the People.’”