— Mike Shesterkin is executive director of the Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.
On Jan. 6, 2021 the world witnessed the chaos that gripped our nation’s capital. What took place that day was clearly an attempt to overthrow a duly elected president.
What enabled the chaos of January 6, and the brazen attempt to ignore the will of the people, was an 1887 law, The Electoral Count Act, which governs Congressional procedures for how state electoral votes for president and vice president are to be cast and counted. At the time, most of us hadn’t a clue how this 135-year-old law functioned. Today, we do. The Act is vague and outdated; it opened the door to false claims that the vice president or Congress could reject the will of the voters – or that state bad actors could override the popular vote by appointing their own electors after Election Day.
We also now know that Michigan came very close to the same sort of chaos that gripped our nation’s capital. Like Washington, our state also has an old, ambiguous law that governs the certification of the popular vote by “canvassers.”
Congress now has a bi-partisan bill, the Electoral Count Reform Act of 2022, that will update the 1887 law. Passing this legislation means we’ll never see the chaos of January 6 again. We need to elect Congressional candidates who support this bill, as well as others that will protect our democracy.
Michigan voters have an opportunity to fix our outdated electoral laws, too, by passing the Promote the Vote 2022 ballot initiative. Let’s do everything we can to ensure passage of Promote the Vote 2022 and keep the chaos out of Michigan.