A bipartisan group of senators is discussing how the 1887 Electoral College Act could be reformed following the Democrats' failed effort to change the filibuster rule to pass two major pieces of voting legislation. 

The group, which will be meeting via Zoom calls, consists of Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Susan Collins, D-Maine, Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and many others.

The ECA allows members of Congress to dispute election results, which former President Donald Trump and his allies tried to exploit in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

 

 

 

 

Collins, who has been leading the talks, says her group consists of six Democrats. Their goal is to pass "an election reform bill that is truly bipartisan, that would address many of the problems that arose on Jan. 6 and that would help restore confidence in our elections," she said.

Manchin, who along with Sinema broke ranks from fellow Democrats on filibuster reform, says the group's goal is to “protect the counting of the vote” in order to avoid events such as those that transpired on Jan. 6, 2021. He said he wants to make it a federal crime to threaten or accost an election official.

"Some items relate to making sure that election officials are not harassed. Others relate to how elections are certified. Others relate to what the role of the vice president is in the electoral counting process and how you would deal with an objection to a slate of electors," Romney told NBC News.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has also expressed his support for ECA reform. “I think it needs fixing, and I wish them well, and I'd be happy to take a look at whatever they can come up with. This is directly related to what happened on Jan. 6, and I think we ought to be able to figure out a bipartisan way to fix it,” McConnell told ABC News.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says that he is considering supporting bipartisan election reform and that Republican interest in the legislation is “closer to 50 than 10.” Blunt says he always thought the ECA should be repealed. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is still determined to pass the Right to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and that it makes “no sense” to abandon the two pieces of legislation for ECA reform.  "If you're going to rig the game and say, 'Oh, we'll count the rigged game accurately,' what good is that?"

Schumer called the ECA reform efforts “the McConnell plan,” adding “It's unacceptably insufficient and even offensive."