Editorial: Congress must update Electoral Count Act to prevent another coup attempt
The day after the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v Florida, the House of Representatives passed a resolution requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an audit of election systems in states that are currently considering ballot-access laws (Ballot Access and Election Integrity Act), or in jurisdictions where a ballot-access application has not been rejected since 2004. The bill passed on a voice vote without opposition. If the bill were to pass in its current form, a state could not implement a new campaign-finance law without seeking the approval of the voters. In the last five decades, however, over 140 jurisdictions have enacted new campaign-finance laws. The majority of the legislatures that enacted these laws were in the North East and South East regions.
We are very concerned that a similar situation is beginning to develop in the West, especially in California, Florida, and Nevada, where legislators are considering ballot-access laws. When the issue of “ballot protection” became part of the campaign between the Republicans and Democrats, the Democrats did not hesitate for a moment to support ballot access; their argument was that the new political system, with its large political machines, was an integral part of the effort to protect themselves and the party from what they perceived as the onslaught of a “third party.” In their view, the only effective response to the threat of a third party was to increase the resources of the party and the government.
When you ask how did these state legislators come to adopt ballot-access measures (which many would consider to be ballot-gutting by the state), the answer is almost always the legislature’s view that the threat is the “third party.” In fact these legislators are more than willing to consider the third party to be themselves. When the third-party threats have become serious enough to be considered a viable candidate for governor, an elected state legislator will vote for a ballot-access bill and a ballot-access petition.
By endorsing a ballot petition and thus enabling a third-party candidate for governor, the new political party has become part of the system. All of a sudden, the third party has become the third party and is the only system that can be effective. And thus far, the third party is winning. The Democrats cannot compete in