In 1887, the Electoral Count Act (ECA) was established, setting aside the date of Jan. 6 to for states' electoral votes to be counted, challenged, resolved, and certified by Congress. Writing for New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore says that although the act has been pilloried "as a legislative dog's meal of vague and confusing procedures," it has never been significantly revised.
Fast-forward to 2020, and Donald Trump used the "ritual certification" as a means to challenge the legitimate election of Joe Biden.
While then-Vice President Mike Pence resisted Trump's pressure on Jan. 6, 2020, the ECA's provisions allowing a single House member and a single senator "to trigger a contest of any state's electoral vote gave Team Trump the opening they needed to mount a January 6 challenge, based on Trump's lies about "voter fraud," even without Pence's complicity," Kilgore writes.
"And so you had the January 6 challenges by MAGA Republicans (a majority of the GOP conference in the House), the deadly Capitol riot, and eventually, the last step necessary to make Joe Biden the 46th president," he adds.
While the Capitol was likely a rare occurrence, the person who inspired it, Donald Trump, has not gone away. "...the idea that presidential election contests should be extended to the last possible moment prior to Inaugural Day, based on arguments like Trump's assertion that "we can't lose unless it's rigged," is pernicious and self-replicating."
"Fixing the Electoral Count Act requires only a majority in both houses of Congress and a presidential signature," Kilgore writes, adding that there's even a contingent of Republican who are interested in updating it.
Read the full article over at New York Magazine.