Bennet Joins Bipartisan Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act

Bill Modernizes Steps to Certify Elections, Safeguards, the Integrity of the Public Vote, and Strengthens Orderly Transfer of Power

Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined his colleagues in supporting the bipartisan Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, led by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). The bill reforms and modernizes the outdated 1887 Electoral Count Act to ensure that electoral votes counted by Congress accurately reflect each state’s public vote for President and promote the orderly transfer of power. 

“The orderly and peaceful transfer of power is a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Bennet. “We should leave no room for anti-democratic forces to exploit ambiguities in our laws to undermine our elections and the will of the American people. This much-needed proposal makes overdue and commonsense reforms to the process for counting electoral votes to uphold the integrity of our elections and strengthen our democracy. I urge my colleagues to join this critical bipartisan legislation.”

The legislation would reform and modernize the Electoral Count Act of 1887 by replacing ambiguous provisions in the 19th-century law with clear procedures that maintain appropriate state and federal roles in selecting the President and Vice President. 

Specifically, this bill will:

  • Identify Official to Submit Slate. Identifies each state’s Governor, unless otherwise specified in the laws or constitution of a state in effect on Election Day, as responsible for submitting the certificate of ascertainment identifying that state’s electors. Congress could not accept a slate submitted by a different official. This reform would address the potential for multiple state officials to send Congress competing slates.

  • Provide for Expedited Judicial Review. Provides for expedited review, including a three judge panel with a direct appeal to the Supreme Court, of certain claims related to a state’s certificate identifying its electors. This accelerated process is available only for aggrieved presidential candidates and allows for challenges made under existing federal law and the U.S. Constitution to be resolved more quickly.

  • Modernizes Rules for Counting Electoral Votes. Requires Congress to defer to slates of electors submitted by a state’s executive pursuant to the judgments of state or federal courts.

  • Clarifies Role of the Vice President. Affirmatively states that the constitutional role of the Vice President, as the presiding officer of the joint meeting of Congress, is solely ministerial and that he or she does not have any power to solely determine, accept, reject, or otherwise adjudicate disputes over electors.

  • Raises Threshold to Object. Increases the threshold to lodge an objection to electors to at least one-fifth of the duly chosen and sworn members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This change would reduce the likelihood of frivolous objections by ensuring that objections are broadly supported. Currently, only a single member of both chambers is needed to object to an elector or slate of electors.

  • Protects Each State’s Popular Vote. Strikes an archaic, 19th century provision that state legislatures could use to override the popular vote in their states by declaring a “failed election.” Instead, this bill specifies that a state can move its presidential election day only if required by “extraordinary and catastrophic” events.

  • Improves Access to Presidential Transition Resources. Allows more than one candidate to receive transition resources during a period of time when the outcome of an election is reasonably in doubt. Only one candidate, however, shall be eligible once there is a clear winner of the election.

The text of the bill is available HERE. A one-page summary of the bill is available HERE.