North Carolina’s delegation remained divided during a vote on a bill aimed at preventing another attempt to overturn a presidential election on Wednesday.
“This bill is about protecting American voters’ will, which is a principle that transcends partisanship,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who introduced the bill on the House floor. “The bottom line is that if you want to object to the vote, you better have the support of your colleagues and the Constitution.” Don’t try to destabilize our democracy.”
The bill to reform the Electoral Count Act was introduced earlier this week by Reps. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, and Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California.
The bill is supported by North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and 15 other lawmakers from both parties in the Senate.
House Democrats struggled to gain bipartisan support for the House bill because it included text blaming the events of Jan. 6, 2021, on former President Donald Trump and his attempt to have former Vice President Mike Pence reject Electoral College votes, which Pence refused.
“I want to be absolutely clear,” Lofgren stated. “Revising the Electoral Count Act and related laws in no way condones the ex-and president’s his allies’ actions.”
According to Lofgren, Trump attorney John Eastman openly admitted his plan to overturn the 2020 election violated the Electoral Count Act, and Trump was aware of it.
“However, this bill will make it more difficult to persuade people that they have the right to overthrow the election,” Lofgren said.
The bill was approved 229-203, mostly along party lines, with nine Republicans voting in favor.
There were no party deserters from North Carolina. All but one of the nine voted to impeach Trump.
Reps. Cheney, Tom Rice, Peter Meijer, Adam Kinzinger, Jaime Herrera Beutler, John Katko, Fred Upton, Anthony Gonzalez, and Chris Jacobs voted in favor of the bill.
The bill is now headed to the Senate, but it is unclear whether its members will be satisfied with this version or prefer to keep their own.
Many opponents of the bill chastised Cheney for his involvement in its creation. Cheney is the vice chair of the Jan. 6 subcommittee, and she lost her reelection bid after criticizing Trump. Kinzinger is also a member of that committee.
Both bills state that the vice president’s role in counting electoral votes is strictly ceremonial, and that he or she has no real power.
Both bills require the governor to submit the certified electors of their state to the US archivist.
Currently, a single member of both the House and Senate can object to a state’s votes being certified. The House version increases the requirement from one-third in both the House and the Senate to one-third in both the House and the Senate. The Senate requires a one-fifth majority from both chambers.
Both versions also address what would happen if a catastrophic event occurred at the same time as a presidential election. The House bill goes a step further in answering that question by defining what constitutes a catastrophic event: a major natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or a widespread power outage.
Lofgren stated that the bill was created after two years of collaboration with bipartisan law professors, former judges, and other experts. She stated that she and Cheney were not always in agreement on the bill, but they did compromise when necessary.