One of the first actions of the 117th U.S. Congress should be to revise the Electoral Count Act of 1887. The act was the basis of the recent certification vote that Congress took on Jan. 6 and the protest/riot that accompanied it. Altering the wording of this act is one way we can safeguard our democracy.

The Electoral Count Act allows members of Congress to reject the certification of the electoral count on the grounds of an alleged irregular choosing of electors by a state. This language allowed for some members of Congress to contest the results even though there is no evidence of irregularities in any of the states. This was ruled to be the case by dozens of federal and state courts throughout the country. This vote led to the dangerous circumstances of Jan. 6.

All Americans have a vested interest in the language of this law being altered and clarified to prevent this from happening again. For conservatives, vesting this power in Congress usurps the constitutional role of the states and violates the 12th Amendment, which specifies that Congress and the vice president “open” and “count” the results. There is no constitutional authority for them to decertify the results. For liberals, this law is not serving you well, either. The power of members of Congress to overrule states, courts and the people on the basis of no actual evidence is dangerous and threatens to disenfranchise millions.

All Americans should be able to agree on this change as we attempt to unite and heal. In the end, we are all better off if we preserve democratic principles.

Keith Magnuson
Falmouth