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Letters to the Editor: Why a new Electoral Count Act can’t save us

Vice President Mike Pence officiates as a joint session of Congress convenes to confirm Joe Biden's victory on Jan. 6, 2021.
Then-Vice President Mike Pence officiates as a joint session of Congress convenes to confirm Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021.
(Saul Loeb / Associated Press)

To the editor: New voting and election laws are overdue, as your editorial states. But they cannot change a flawed constitutional system. Reforms are constrained by a Constitution that allows states to restrict suffrage so long as they don’t single out race and sex or impose poll taxes.

A new electoral count law needs to clarify the role of the vice president in certifying a presidential election. But it cannot remedy the constitutional power of states, with no requirement for a popular vote, to appoint electors “in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.”

Nor can it reverse the constitutional power of the House — with one vote per state — to elect the president or the Senate to elect the vice president if no candidate has a majority of electors.

Commenting on the constitutional flaws highlighted when Congress passed the 1887 Electoral Count Law, a constitutional scholar at the time predicted that our unwieldy system of electing a president “means the accumulation of error until nothing short of revolution can correct it. It means the congestion of the body politic until nothing but blood-letting can relieve it.”

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Brook Thomas, Irvine

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To the editor: Proponents of the American system of government bend themselves into pretzels to justify the electoral college, a “feature” of our democracy by which the presidency is sometimes awarded to the candidate who was explicitly rejected by the majority of the voting population.

To the extent that this archaic counter-democratic idiosyncrasy is understood in modern democracies around the globe, I’m sure it makes us a laughingstock.

Improving the procedure for counting electoral votes might be the most expedient Band-Aid currently available, but it’s lipstick on a pig.

Brian Masson, Harbor City

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To the editor: The reason why Jan. 6 is still dividing us is that the liberals won’t let it go.

Following their great victory over the “evil one” in 2020, they thought that a liberal paradise would follow. Instead, the second coming of Jimmy Carter occurred. So far, we have a failed presidency.

Jan. 6 was the exclamation point on a tragic and destructive summer. I would advise the Democrats to follow the lead of Twitter and cut former President Trump off by not writing or talking about him.

As I see it, Jan. 6 was not an attack on democracy, but an attack on the liberal elites who spent four years trying to destroy Trump’s presidency. Talking about Jan. 6 is not a campaign strategy that will work in either 2022 or 2024.

Mark Walker, Yorba Linda


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