ONE IN EVERY CROWD: Ted Cruz is the lone “No” vote on electoral reform bill

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Shocking no one, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the only Nay vote on an amendment to the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022. The Electoral Count Reform Act seeks to prevent another insurrection, with a similar version passing the house on September 21st. But Cruz couldn’t help himself, being the sole dissenter in the 14-1 voice vote on legislation that even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) supports – solidifying Raphael Cruz’s position as one of the least liked lawmakers in the chamber.

“The legislation before us with this text in this form is Congress’ one option to get an outcome, and, in my view, this is not an opportunity we should pass up,” McConnell said after the vote.

But his Senate colleague and fellow GOP member Ted Cruz was able to pass it up just fine. Echoing his complaints from the committee’s hearing in August where Cruz said: “This bill is a bad bill…This bill is all about Donald J. Trump.”

According to Democracy Docket, during the markup hearing, Cruz laid it on thick in opposition to the bill.

“He argues that the bill federalizes elections and spent a large portion of his remarks complaining about provisions of the Democrats’ federal voting rights bills even though they are no longer under active consideration by Congress. He also echoed conspiracy theories that fraud is rampant in American elections and criticized his Republican colleagues for supporting the bills.”

While the amendment leaves most of the underlying Senate bill unchanged, it makes a few key updates. The amendment would:

  • Make U.S. Supreme Court review of any federal litigation over the certification of state electors discretionary rather than mandatory,
  • Ensure the judicial review procedure provided in the act doesn’t exclude litigation in other state and federal courts
  • And clarify the language around the certification of electors to specify that during the counting of electoral college votes, Congress must treat the electors certified by a state and modified by any state or federal court relief as conclusive.

Introduced by Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chair Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and ranking member Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) in a bi-partisan effort, its passing was praised by Senators on both sides of the aisle. Both the House version of the bill– passed on September 21st – and the Senate version “clarify that the vice president’s role in counting electoral college votes is purely ministerial.”

“This bill explicitly rejects once and for all the false claims that the Vice President has authority to accept or reject electoral votes and makes it clear that the Vice President role during the joint session is ceremonial. Second, it raises the threshold to challenge the electoral votes during the joint session…to 1/5 of Congress. Third, it ensures a partisan state legislature cannot appoint electors themselves and ignore the will of the voters. Fourth, it takes reforms to ensure the candidate can have an appeal process. It includes vital reforms that guard against future threats to our democracy,” Sen. Klobuchar said.

Former California Secretary of State, Sen. Alex Padilla (D) recognized that this is just the beginning to securing unfettered access to the ballot for all, saying: “Too many Americans still experience unnecessary obstacles to exercising the right to vote.“ Still, he applauded the progress made in updating the Electoral Count Act of 1887:

“The Electoral Count Act reform is critical to ensuring…the peaceful transfer of power that’s so fundamental to our democracy.”

Senator Angus King (I-ME) pushed back on Ted Cruz’s attempt to gaslight, telling his Canadian-born colleague, “This bill does not come out of the blue, in fact, it’s a modification of a 150-year-old law that’s already been on the books. It’s not a new effort of Congress.”

Cruz seems to be on his own – something he should probably start getting used to.

According to The Guardian, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is thrilled to throw his support and political clout behind the legislation, saying “Congress’s process for counting the presidential electors’ votes was written 135 years ago,” McConnell said. “The chaos that came to a head on January 6 of last year certainly underscored the need for an update.”

Come next election cycle, for the sake of democracy, it may be time to “update,” Raphael “Cancun” Cruz.

Watch the full hearing here.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.