For very different reasons, leaders of both parties have been questioning whether we can trust the results from our elections. A lack of faith in our election outcomes on both the left and right poses a serious threat to American self-government. The ability to trust that our representatives have been determined by the voice of the people is the bedrock of the most successful republic in history.
Both the left and right have pursued elections measures that are unrealistic this year because the other side vigorously opposes them. Efforts to find measures wise enough to attract support across the partisan divide are, however, making impressive progress. Those efforts include the work by a bipartisan group of roughly 16 senators led by Senators Manchin (Democrat – West Virginia) and Collins (Republican – Maine). This is largely the same group with whom we successfully worked on infrastructure legislation last year.
Several of the most influential senators in this group encouraged us to pick this issue because they believe we could play a significant role by demonstrating whether, and where, broad consensus exists among the American people. Even more than on our previous issues, Congress is eager to hear what CommonSense Americans think about elections legislation.
This brief provides you with information to form your own judgment about the wisdom of legislative proposals under active consideration in four areas:
- Electoral Count Act (ECA)—Passed by Congress in 1878, the ECA establishes how and when states certify and send the results of the presidential election to Congress. It also establishes how Congress counts the electoral votes and resolves disputes.
- Presidential Transition Act (PTA)—The PTA governs how and when a president-elect receives a range of resources so that they can prepare to lead effectively as soon as they are sworn in.
- State and Local Funding—Congress is considering proposals to increase federal funding for state and local governments to administer elections.
- Election Worker Protection—Several measures have been proposed to protect election workers against growing threats.