Whether you oppose, support, or are neutral on Electoral Count Act reform, today's Senate Rules Committee hearing showed why progressive Democrats are the extremists on any election law reform. The Electoral Count Act (ECA) is a relatively obscure 135-year-old law that was passed to fix the day for the meeting of the electors for President and Vice President, and to provide for and regulate the counting of the votes for President and Vice President, and the decision of questions arising thereon. While the reform effort is a technical bill that reasonable people can respectfully support, disagree with, or further discuss, it does have bipartisan support. Yet any ultimate reform efforts may be doomed by progressives who only look for partisan advantage in elections.
The first example of this from the hearing was four of the five witnesses (two Republicans and two Democrats) were focused on the ECA but the fifth was not. Progressive Janai Nelson, who serves as President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, made clear the ECA is more an afterthought for the far left and discussed debunked issues of race and access and other defeated federal voting bills that would expand federal power over elections while decreasing state power. Ironically, this is the opposite approach of the bipartisan group of Senators that crafted the proposed ECA reform that clarifies the Vice President’s ceremonial role in counting electoral votes and makes clear states decide electoral slates for the Presidential election.
Which brings us to the second example of how extreme progressives have become. On the ECA reform bill former Obama Campaign and White House Counsel Bob Bauer and former Trump Department of Justice Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division John Gore agreed and were seemingly interchangeable. Bauer even agreed with the more conservative expert on the panel, Derek Muller, more than the liberal expert Norman Eisen. Bauer was complimentary and wanted to work together in a bipartisan fashion.
Before Marc Elias, Bauer was the lawyer to all key Democrats. Contrast this with Elias who has blasted all ECA reform efforts and rejected bipartisanship in election reform saying that “Democracy is partisan.” ECA reform talks drive home the point that most of today's mainstream progressive Democrats support the ultra-partisan Elias approach and refuse to seek any bipartisanship in election administration.
Lastly, while Democrat Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar and Ranking Republican Member Roy Blunt expressed the desire to pass ECA reform this year, House Democrats refuse to be bipartisan. Contrast Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell who is open to ECA reform with House Democrat Whip Jim Clyburn who considers Democrat Senator Joe Manchin’s bipartisan efforts on election reform insulting and demands passage of federal election takeover legislation.
Whatever happens with ECA reform, one thing is clear: it is the progressives who are the extremists and obstructionists when it comes to bipartisan election reform.