1 of 5 | Vice President Mike Pence (C) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., preside over the Electoral College vote certification for President-elect Joe Biden during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. A bipartisan group of senators has unveiled legislation clarifying that the vice president's role in this process is ceremonial. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
July 20 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation Wednesday to revamp the Electoral Count Act to clarify the vice president's role in the certifying presidential election results.
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., introduced the bill, named the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, in an effort to avoid a repeat of the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol.
The overhaul makes it clear that the vice president has only a ceremonial role in overseeing the electoral certification process. It also requires at least one-fifth of each chamber of Congress to challenge the result of an election.
"From the beginning, our bipartisan group has shared a vision of drafting legislation to fix the flaws of the archaic and ambiguous Electoral Count Act of 1887," the group of senators said in a joint statement.
"Through numerous meetings and debates among our colleagues as well as conversations with a wide variety of election experts and legal scholars, we have developed legislation that establishes clear guidelines for our system of certifying and counting electoral votes for president and vice president. We urge our colleagues in both parties to support these simple, commonsense reforms."
Plans to clarify the Electoral Count Act come about a month after the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol heard testimony about former President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to reject the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Former advisers and lawyers to Pence said Trump counsel John Eastman tried to present a legal theory to justify having Pence overturn the election during the certification process.
Also signing on to the bill were Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Mark Warner, D-Va.; Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; Chris Murphy, D-Conn.; Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Todd Young, R-Ind.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Vice President Mike Pence, R-Ind., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., preside over the Electoral College votes for certification after working through the night at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo