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Congress moves to fix way it counts votes for president

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WASHINGTON — Last week, a bipartisan group of 16 U.S. senators agreed on a long-awaited proposal to fix the Electoral Count Act, the ramshackle 1887 law that then-President Donald Trump used to try to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump claimed the law, which sets the rules under which Congress counts electoral votes, allowed then-Vice President Mike Pence to block votes from states that Joe Biden won. Pence refused, which is why the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, chanted "Hang Mike Pence."

Trump also argued that the law empowers state legislatures to set aside the popular vote at will. He lobbied GOP leaders in swing states to appoint rogue slates of Trump electors, but none played along.

Most legal scholars said Trump misinterpreted the law, but that didn't stop the former president from nearly touching off a constitutional crisis, if not a coup d'etat.

After Jan. 6, there was broad bipartisan consensus in Congress that the law should be revamped before 2024 to prevent Trump or other candidates from trying those gambits again.

The bipartisan Senate proposal fixes the most glaring flaws in the old statute. It specifies that states must appoint presidential electors based on the laws in place on Election........

© Olean Times Herald

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