Representative Price Introduces the Count Every Vote Act
Today, Congressman David Price (NC-04) introduced the Count Every Vote Act to provide additional time for determining the results of the presidential election without delaying a transition of power. The legislation is designed to give states as much time as possible to count all eligible ballots, resolve any controversies, or conduct a recount in accordance with existing state laws to ensure a fair, accurate result.
"Tens of millions of Americans are choosing to safely and securely vote-by-mail, and we must ensure that every voice is heard if states need additional time to accurately process and certify the results," said Congressman Price. "This is even more critical in the face of President Trump's baseless claims about a "rigged' election. The voters should dictate the election results, not an arbitrary deadline created by Congress more than 70 years ago. The Count Every Vote Act would boost confidence that all eligible votes can be counted without delaying the transition of power."
Background: Under current law, states must certify their election results (and the appointment of state electors) by the "safe harbor" date at least six days before the meeting of the Electoral College in mid-December. The bill would move the date for the meeting of state electors who comprise the Electoral College from mid-December (December 14th this year) to January 2nd (or January 3rd, when January 2nd falls on a Sunday) and extend the safe harbor date to three days before the electors meet. At the same time, the legislation ensures the Joint Session of Congress that formally counts the electoral votes (currently required to occur on January 6th) would meet no later than January 8th. Finally, the legislation requires each state to ensure efficient delivery of the electoral votes -- including overnight delivery or a secure form of electronic transmission, not just by registered mail.
By making these changes, states would have significantly more time to certify election results--up to twenty-two additional days in this year's presidential contest--without delaying the transition of power, which must occur by January 20th according to the Constitution. Many of the existing dates governing the Electoral College process were created by Congress in the late 1940s, before the advent of modern communications. The Count Every Vote Act is informed by lessons of the 2000 and 2004 elections, when there were close results in several states, as well as the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Election officials expect a surge of absentee and vote-by-mail ballots that may take longer to count than in previous elections. Text of the legislation can be found here.
Representative Price introduced previous versions of the Count Every Vote Act in the 108th and 109th Congresses. He has long advocated for election reform and federal oversight including authoring the We the People Democracy Reform Act of 2017 to reform campaign contributions and enact independent oversight of state redistricting efforts. Representative Price also authored the Stand By Your Ad Act, which requires candidates to appear in their ads and take responsibility for its contents.
Representative Price has an extensive political science background -- beginning his career as a Political Science professor at Duke University before winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1987. He is also the author of "The Congressional Experience", a personal guide about the intricacies of Congress, policymaking, and the evolution of modern-day politics.