Lofgren & Butterfield Statement on The Electoral Count Act and Voting Rights

Jan 5, 2022
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Subcommittee on Elections Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) issued the following statement today: 

“Nearly a year ago, we witnessed firsthand some of our democracy’s most fragile moments.  Undoubtedly, the events of January 6, 2021, exposed serious flaws in the Electoral Count Act of 1887.  The ECA is antiquated, incomplete, and in dire need of reform.  The Committee on House Administration has been working diligently to craft those reforms and we expect to release a Committee Staff Report on the subject shortly.  

“But let there be no doubt: reforming the Electoral Count Act is no cure-all for the widespread attacks on the freedom to vote that we continue to witness today.  Election misinformation and disinformation continue to spread, and in many parts of the country, efforts continue unabated to place deliberate barriers to the ballot.  According to the Brennan Center for Justice, between January 1 and December 7, 2021, 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting, and experts predict this wave of voter suppression and election sabotage will intensify in 2022. 

“Despite the fact that top experts have repeatedly affirmed that the 2020 election was the safest and most secure in our nation’s history, this misinformation was at the heart of the violent effort to obstruct Congress from completing its work in certifying the election’s legitimate results. These mistruths have also fueled threats of violence against state and local election officials and workers.

“As Attorney General Merrick Garland said today, these new anti-voter bills are a direct result of the fact that ‘the protection of the Voting Rights Act has been drastically weakened,’ including by the 2013 decision in the Shelby County case.  The Attorney General observed that the decision ‘effectively eliminated the preclearance measures of Section Five, the most effective tool for protecting voting rights over the past half-century.’  We agree with the Attorney General that ‘it is essential that Congress act’ to give the Department of Justice the powers it needs to ‘ensure that every eligible voter can cast a vote that counts.’

“To meet this unique historical moment, Congress must pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.  Reforming the Electoral Count Act – an important and necessary action to safeguard a transparent elections process we can trust – is by itself no substitute for ensuring Americans can safely and freely cast their ballots so that every voice is heard and our elections reflect the will of the people. We commend Majority Leader Schumer for prioritizing these truly transformational bills. It is time to make the promise of democracy real for all Americans.”   

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Issues: 
Congress Number: 
117th Congress