Editorial: Congress must update Electoral Count Act to prevent another coup attempt
The Electoral Count Act’s requirement that states, cities and counties have to provide “at least the current results of all elections” is outdated and needs updating, said Secretary of State Jesse White in his announcement of legislation in July that would require these elections be held the day after the statewide November vote.
The law, with one exception, requires the Secretary of State to issue advisory advisory opinions every four years based on changes in the number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
An April 18 opinion from the Office of the Secretary of State found the bill “is too much of a technical requirement, as the Secretary of State is unable to predict with certainty how many seats will change in the House and Senate.”
The April opinion “would not require a revision of the advisory opinions issued under the Act in subsequent years,” the opinion reads.
However, the Opinion went on to say under “the current circumstances,” the legislation “seems overly technical, and would delay the administration of the Act, the U.S. Board of Elections and Election Administration and other states and jurisdictions to the extent they are unable or unwilling to issue advisory opinions.”
The most recent advisory opinion was issued in May 2016 and said, “This opinion is issued under the authority granted under Section 8 of the Act to advise the Secretary of State of the number of Members of the House of Representatives and the number of Members of the Senate that will be elected in a particular state, as of the date of a general election.”
The opinion explained that for 2016, the “number of Members of the House of Representatives and the number of Members of the Senate was predicted to be increased by one and to be reduced by one, respectively, in the following state(s): California (House), North Carolina (Senate – two members; two seats).”
The State of California’s 2016 congressional election saw the highest voter turnout in California history with 63.7 percent of registered voters participating turnout, the highest since 2004 when 60.9 percent of registered voters turned out for California’s congressional midterm election.
The Opinion states: “[Section] 8 does not compel the Secretary of State to issue advisory opinions on election results for each state, and the Secretary of State’s opinions provided in previous years, are not inconsistent