July 21, 2022

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 Is Broken. The Business Community Must Help Fix It.

Modernizing this antiquated law is essential to preventing a constitutional crisis.

The business community has a bottom-line economic interest in protecting the democratic institutions upon which our republic relies. For this reason, we urge swift congressional action to address flaws in the Electoral Count Act of 1887 (ECA) and other election risks by passing both the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act and the Enhanced Election Security and Protection Act. These actions will help ensure public trust in our elections and the peaceful transition of power between presidential administrations.

We appreciate the efforts of Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) to craft a bipartisan ECA modernization and election security package, and we are heartened to see significant support from both Democrats and Republicans.

The current ECA governs how electoral votes for president and vice president are cast and counted. It does so, however, in terms that are often vague and confusing, leaving the potential for misinterpretation and misapplication. This lack of clarity has contributed to escalating attempts by both parties to challenge the results of presidential elections over the last 20 years, culminating with the calamitous events of January 6.

Many Republican and Democratic members of Congress, scholars, and election experts agree that the 135-year-old text must clarify rules around the appointment of state electors, clarify that the vice president's role is ceremonial in nature, raise the threshold and specify limited grounds for congressional objections, and establish clear procedures for dispute resolution. By acting on a bipartisan basis now — well before the 2024 presidential election landscape begins to take shape — these updates will convey no partisan advantage or disadvantage.

“The future of our republic relies upon effective election administration, public trust in the results, and the peaceful transfer of power — and so do our markets and businesses. Our country cannot afford a constitutional crisis,” said Sarah Bonk, the founder and CEO of Business for America. “That’s why we’re mobilizing the business community to support passage of this bipartisan legislation.”

“Our member companies want to make sure their employees have a voice in our government. If the Electoral Count Act can be manipulated and valid votes thrown out, then there’s a serious risk that employees’ voices won’t be heard. This will further erode public confidence in the integrity of our democracy and contribute to more political instability,” said Richard Eidlin, national policy director at Business for America.

In addition to modernizing the ECA, the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act will promote the orderly transfer of power by establishing clear guidelines on timing and resources for a new presidential administration. The Enhanced Election Security & Protection Act will help to protect election workers and voters from intimidation and threats of violence, as well as improve the handling of election mail by the U.S. Postal Service and make it illegal to tamper with voting systems.

Businesses stand together today to urge Congress to ensure the public trust and the peaceful transfer of power by passing these two essential pieces of legislation. Both are essential to the stability of our elections, our national security, and our economic well being.

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Businesses, business organizations, and trade groups are invited to join Business for America’s efforts to advance the bills now under consideration in Congress by visiting bfa.us/eca.

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About Business for America
Business for America is a nonpartisan network of business leaders advancing solutions to boost civic engagement, reduce political polarization, and modernize government. A well-functioning democracy will help foster a more competitive, innovative business climate in America. Businesses interested in getting involved can learn more at bfa.us.