Every four years on January 6th, Congress convenes, with the vice president presiding, to carry out an important but ministerial aspect of the peaceful transfer of power. Per the U.S. Constitution, Congress counts states’ electoral votes and announces the next President and Vice President of the United States.
But a contentious 1876 presidential election nearly broke this tradition and posed questions that were not answered in the Constitution. In its aftermath, Congress passed the Electoral Count Act (ECA) to clarify its role in counting electoral votes. But, despite having clear legislative intent at the time, the ECA is ambiguous, out of date, and contributed to the electoral chaos that we saw this year.
In episode 31, Weston talks with two experts on the Electoral Count Act about how this arcane legislation came to be, how it gave rise to confusion and misinterpretation about Congress’ role in the 2020 presidential election, and why Congress must update it now.
Listeners will hear from:
- Genevieve Nadeau, Counsel at Protect Democracy
- Matthew Seligman, Special Counsel at Campaign Legal Center
Check out the latest Swamp Stories episode: “Regularly Given”