tv U.S. Senate Senators Manchin Collins on Electoral Count CSPAN July 20, 2022 8:48pm-9:09pm EDT
charter is connectedness. >> charter communications appoint c-span as a public service as well as these public providers give you a front row seat of democracy. senators joe manchin and susan collins introduced two bipartisan bills that they say will reform the electoral count act of 1887. the measures would make sure the vote tally by congress accurately reflect each states vote for president. it would also provide guidelines on when the president and vice president can receive federal resources for the transition into office. >> mr. president i rise today to acknowledge a month a bipartisan, hard work is going to two bills that we are filing today the electoral count, reforming presidential transition improvement act, i repeat the electoral count,
reforming presidential transition improvement act and the enhanced selection security and protection act. i'd like to commend my dear friend senator susan collins for his leadership throughout this process she has been shepherding this through and working diligently as only she can do and does it so well. we started this discussion back in january. when partisanship about here without a fever pitch, the toxic environment was absolutely now conducive to things that need to be done. but for those that may not remember we were in the middle of the heat of the day over voting rights, with both sides democrats and republican will equally vote again and their positions and it's kinda hard to move people off of that preventive action of january the sixth and the situation that has been going on since 1887 issued been corrected and i had not
been but no onewo ever felt we d what we had so now we have to take care of it. everyone stepser into play. by january the 19th, my democratic colleagues were so frustrated that they forced a vote on repealing the filibuster to allow that bill the pass with a simple majority along partyar lines. it appeared to many both inside and outside of washington, d.c.n that the senate was fundamentally guess what they
did i am here to thank those that sit down senator bob portman with senator murphy, we had senator romney, senator shaheen, senator caskey, senator warren, senator tillis, senator sinema, senator l-uppercase-letter, senator cardin, senator young, senator coons, senator sass andor senatr graham, that was truly a team effort when you think about it. this is gone on for quite some time. what will enter those discussions the s bipartisan support for some important commonsense reforms that would help restore america's faith in our democracy. and how we basically apply our democracy and select a representative form of government. specifically most of theha group felt that we could should reform the electoral count act and
renew the ambiguity that we sell weaponize after the last election. we were all in agreement. enhance the protections for local election officials that were facing unprecedented threats andim intimidation's. these are people that volunteer most basically and it's basically family handed down generation after generation, people with their civic duty to be able to perform during the election times, who want to establish a best practice of the u.s. postal service with the hand of mail-in ballots. mail-in ballots have been so convenient to about older people, shut-ins and a situation where we had this pandemic, my goodness only with the people could vote. reauthorize the election assistance commission to help states improve the administration and the security of federal elections. most important thing that we wecould do is when the vote is cast in the vote is counted accurately and has to be counted and reported accurately.
that's what we have to do to make sure there is no, not even a shred, that cal is not valid is not a valid count and we have done everything that we possibly can to make sure that we cleared that up. this is not everything that people on both sides wanted. sam and i bipartisan committee wanted a lot more and some did not want to basically interfere with the states rights. so we were caught in between, we worked back and forth inha different things we could, we tried to put the guardrails on they gave guidance. we think that we came up with a piece of legislation and when you have every member i just mentioned all signed on with the diversity of these memberships we have almost 20, 20 senators that have been involved equally
between democrats and republicans. i was proud to be an original sponsor of the freedom to vote act and the voting rights advancement act and i still believe that we can and we must continue working to protect every american sacred right to vote but we also haveeo an obligation to the murky people to do the most good that we can right now, right now. the confusing and antiquated language that we have on the books today from 1887, electoral count act in a real and present danger to our democracy. we can fix that and that's exactly what we intend to do. the tax across the country on poor workers and election volunteers, we can fix that too. even more important than the policy provisions contained in these two bills is the fact that we have democrats and republicans standing arm and arm
proposing common sense election reforms that can begin to restore america's faith ine our democracy. commitment and problems.nt and when benjamin franklin was asked whether the constitutional convention had given usnkas a republic or monarchy he famously replied a republican man if you can keep it. he qualified his answer because he understood the democracy is fragile and can be lost if we're not careful.od while today's introduction is an important step in this process we do have much work yet to do. i look forward to continuing our bipartisan effort to get this bill to the president's desk as quickly as possible into law. in our journey begins. with that i would like to yield to my dear friend from the great state of maine susan collins. >> mr. president. >> senator from maine. >> mr. president i am pleased to
join my close friend and dear colleague senator manchin and introducing bipartisan legislationth to reform the archaic and indigenous electoral contact at 1587. the important law that governs how congress tallies each state electoral votes for president and vice president. mr. president on january 6, 2017 i was amused to learn that i had received one electoral vote for vice president of the united states. an office for which i obviously was not a candidate. but on january 6, 2021 i
realized that my unearned vote from four years earlier was really not funny at all. rather it was an indication of deep structural problems with the system of certifying and counting the electoral votes for president and vice president. these unfortunate flaws are codified in the 1887 electoral count act. mr. president and four of the past six presidential elections this process has been abused, with members of both parties raising frivolous objections to electoral vote but it took the violent breach of the capital on january 6 at 2021 to really
shine a spotlight on the urgent need for reform. over the past several months h senator manchin and i have worked with a terrific bipartisan group of senators who are united in our determination to prevent the flaws in this 135-year-old law from being used to undermine huger presidential elections. i want to express my gratitude to my friend senator manchin and to all the members of our bipartisan group for their hard work, their constructive work to craft this legislation. specifically i want to thank
senators portman, cinema, romney, shaheen, murkowski, warner, tillis, murphy, l-uppercase-letter, cardin, young, coons and sass for their work over several months. i also want to think senator klobuchar and brought you had the rules committee for their advice and counsel throughout this process. in senator lindsey graham for his insights and for joining as a cosponsor. the legislation that we aretr introducing the electoral count reform and presidential transition improvement act will help ensure that electoral votes total by congress accurately reflect each state's popular vote for president and vice president. our bill includes a number of
important reforms but i want to highlight just a few. first it reasserts that the constitutional role of the vice president in counting electoral votes is strictly and solely ministerial. the idea any vice president would have the power to unilaterally accept or reject or change or halt the electoral votes is antithetical to the constitution and basic democratic principles. second our bill waives the threshold to lodge an objection to a black tour to at least one fifth of the duly chosen and sworn members of the house of representatives and the united states senate. currently mr. president only a
single member in both houses is required to eject uno back to her or slave of electors. third are legislation will ensure that congress can identify a single conclusive slate of electors by clearly identifying a single state official who is responsible . . . pursuant to the judgment of state or federal courts and providing agreed presidential candidates with an expedited judicial review of federal claims related to a state certificate of electors. let me be clear this does not create a new cause of action. instead it will ensure prompt
and efficient adjudication of adjudication of disputes.n of to help promote the transfer of power, our bill also includes clear guidelines for when eligible presidential candidates may receive federal resources to support their transition into office and i want to particularly thank senators portman and coons for their hard work on those provisions. mr. president, we are also introducing bill administration of elections. administration of elections. in the interest of time let me quickly note the major provisions of the bill.
it was reauthorized for five years to conduct additional cybersecurity testings in the voting system. a concept put forth by senator warren improve the p it would improve the postal service handling and it would enhance penalties for violent threats against election workers and increase the maximum penalty for tampering with voting systems including certain electronic records. that was the work of several members including senators romney, shaheen and cinema among others. mr. president, we have before us a historic opportunity to modernize and strengthen our
system of certifying and counting the electoral votes for president and vice president. january 6th reminded us nothing is more essential to the survival of a democracy than the orderly transfer of power. and there's nothing more essential to the orderly transfer of power than clear rules for effecting it. i very much hope that congress will seize this opportunity to enact the sensible much-needed reforms before the end of congress. >> i wanted to say six months this for six months starting in january.
and it was 14 senators that came at that time with all of your support, mr. president, also. we have support from everybody saying something had to be done. but as delicate as this was knowing some were thinking we areo picking on one side with te other or supporting or defending one side or the other there's only one thing we are concerned about, how to defend the country andow constitution and this wonderful capital that we have so this could never happen again. january 6th is a black mark on the history in america and if you want to erase it you better do whatte we did for six months bringing people together to find a pathway forward. so that type of opportunity to degrade the government into the country and the form of governing ourselves.
when that happened we were all down in a secure room and we didn't know what the extent of this was. we knew one thing they didn't come for a friendly visit but we are down there talking and all of a sudden someone says let's conduct our business here and two fte everybody in the room says no, no, no. we all came back later that night and finished our business. what we did is make sure we are finishing our business. we are just starting to protect the democracy. this form of democracy that we have as a representative form and the public that we are all responsible for and i'm so proud to be part of it and she is my dear friend and we worked many years together and will continue to. i want to thank you for the hard work your staff and we've worked
together and i'm proud of all of our staff that they worked together for the betterment of the country so when people think the bipartisanship is not capable of happening in washington, i want to say watch. we've proven wrong and have done and we will continue to. so thank you and to all of those that participated for just hanging in there it took six months but t we've just begun. >> mr. president. >> the senator from maine. >> i want i to salute and thank all of the members ofha the grop who worked so hard over many months. as is always the case when you delve into a complicated issue it turns out that there are far more nuances and complexities than you would think when you first look at the issue but everyone continues to work for the common good to strengthen
the procedures, to update this archaicha and in big u.s. law tt was written in the language ofot another era. we have accomplished that and i hope our colleagues will all join together and that in the end we can have an overwhelming vote. finally, i also want to thank thebe staff members for their extraordinary work. they worked literally night and day through the issues and help helped bring uset together so my thanks not only to the members, but to their staff as well and i will yield the floor. thank you, mr. president.