Republican Representative Liz Cheney introduced a bill Monday that would change how Congress counts presidential electors to reduce the chances of another effort to overturn election results like that mounted by former President Donald Trump last year.
Co-sponsored with Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren, the legislation would direct challenges to state elections to courts and limit the vice president’s role in electoral vote-counting as “ministerial.” That grew out of Trump’s attempt to pressure his vice president, Mike Pence, to take action as the Senate’s presiding officer during the counting of the Electoral College results to obstruct or delay formal certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.
It also would raise the bar to challenge a state’s electors to one-third of both the House and Senate. Currently, if one member of Congress from each chamber objects to a presidential election during the arcane certification process, the chambers have to debate and hold a vote on the objection, as was done in 2021.
The bill is broadly similar to legislation being written by a bipartisan group of senators that is expected to be voted on during the lame-duck session between the November midterm election and the end of the year. Both bills would limit the kind of maneuvers used by Trump and his allies to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election, which culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol as Congress certified the Electoral College vote.
Cheney, of Wyoming, and Lofgren, of California, are members of the House committee that has been investigating the Jan. 6, 2020, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Cheney, who lost the Wyoming Republican primary in August to an election denier, has been among the most prominent GOP critics of Trump’s attempts to undermine the election.
In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal Monday, she and Lofgren wrote that the bill would ensure that “self-interested politicians cannot steal from the people the guarantee that our government derives its power from the consent of the governed.”