WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Sept. 19, U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) introduced H.R. 8873, the Presidential Election Reform Act (PERA), a bill that would make key changes to the antiquated Electoral Count Act (ECA) of 1887, which governs how Congress counts Electoral College votes. The bill introduced today stems from Lofgren and Cheney’s work on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack and is designed to ensure “such an attack never happens again.” The House Rules Committee will hold a meeting on the bill tomorrow, Sept. 20 at 2:00pm ET.
To prevent a losing presidential candidate from disrupting the counting process, the bill would
- Clarify the Vice President’s role during the counting of electoral votes is purely ceremonial,
- Raise the threshold to object to a state’s electoral votes to one-third of each chamber
- And create explicit grounds upon which members of Congress may object to a state’s electoral votes. One permissible reason for an objection is if the presidential candidate previously participated in an insurrection.
The bill would also prevent states from changing how they pick electors after Election Day and allow presidential candidates to seek federal court relief against election officials who refuse to certify elections or count ballots.
In July, a bipartisan group of senators released their own proposal to reform the ECA. While broadly similar, the two bills differ in several ways, such as differing objection thresholds. Both chambers of Congress will have to agree on legislation in order to send a bill to President Joe Biden’s desk.