Editorial: Jan. 6, Donald Trump and the Electoral Count Act

Daily News Editorial Board, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

A Florida hurricane threatening wide-scale damage and destruction to life and property cannot save a Florida man who threatened wide-scale damage and destruction to the Constitution. So while Wednesday afternoon’s Jan. 6 committee hearing was postponed due to Hurricane Ian’s approach, Donald Trump will still face exposure and condemnation from the bipartisan panel. It just wasn't Wednesday.

What will hopefully happen soon is the passage of urgently needed repairs to the archaic and confusing Electoral Count Act of 1887, which badly prescribes how the states’ Electoral College votes for president are tabulated by Congress. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has signed on to an effort already backed by more than 10 Republicans, making passage of the upper house’s version of the reforms a surety.

The 1887 law — meant to address problems from the 1876 presidential election, which had disputed slates of electors from three states — has language that Trump and his allies tried to use to thwart Joe Biden’s victory, such as the canard that the vice president can disregard results. That’s why the mob Trump stoked was chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”: because the veep, presiding over the joint session, wasn’t going along with the putsch.

Said McConnell before the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday, making it clear to all: “The vice president has no personal discretionary power over the presidential vote.”

This is not about party, but the rule of law, just as the Jan. 6 committee’s work, led by Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, has been an invaluable exercise.


The panel has proved that the violent attack on Congress by an enraged mob seeking to stop the certification of the presidential election was a plot designed to thwart the peaceful transfer of power, not a spontaneous gathering of overexcited tourists. The purpose of the plot was to benefit a man whose sworn duty was to uphold the Constitution, not tear it asunder.

Donald Trump has cheated and lied his whole life. A stronger Electoral Count Act will help protect the republic from his predation.


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