Strengthening our democracy is critical to maintaining America’s economic competitiveness

All eyes are on the upcoming midterm elections and what issues will affect voters, but more attention should be paid to ensuring the stability of our democracy. A recent NYT/Sinema poll shows that voters are well aware of the challenge to our democracy, but economic woes remain more important. Frankly, the two problems are linked.

The risks to the economy of a weakened democracy cannot be overstated. Unstable governments are considered to intervene in free markets and generally be unsafe global investments. At best, interest rates would rise, making it significantly harder for businesses of all sizes to start and grow. If the United States’ ability to borrow money from creditors around the world at low interest rates is compromised, the consequences could be disastrous.

While this is a complicated issue, there is work to be done to reduce polarization and achieve consensus. Congress has the opportunity to make progress by passing a crucial piece of legislation. Regardless of the election results, the 117th Congress should not be adjourned without passing legislation to modernize the Electoral Count Act of 1887, an effort that has won bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. This legislation is not aimed at Republicans or Democrats; it targets those who would undermine our democracy and is essential to keep our economy stable.

The 2020 presidential election and its aftermath have strained our democratic institutions like no other modern election has. Given that mistrust in our elections could destabilize the economy, business took unprecedented steps to endorse the legitimacy of the election results and condemn the January 6 uprising that followed.

Business leaders, such as the American public and the consumers they serve, recognize that our democracy is fragile, with 83% say they are concerned on the health of American democracy in recent polls. Perhaps more than others, we need them to recognize their ability to ensure we are on track to restore trust in institutions that have enabled us to build the largest economy on the planet. “The future of our republic depends on effective election administration, public confidence in the results and the peaceful transfer of power – and so do our markets and businesses. Our country cannot afford a constitutional crisis,” said Sarah Bonk, the founder and CEO of Business for America.

Attempts to undo the 2020 election and prevent President Biden from coming to power depended on a last resort to force former Vice President Mike Pence to use the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to undo the results. After close elections in 1880 and 1884, Congress passed this legislation to establish an approval process for a state’s list of voters. But under the law, only one senator and one Representative who object can force a vote on the approval of a state’s electoral votes. This approach has been used by both Republicans and Democrats for the past 20 years.

Fortunately, the January 6 uprising failed and President Joe Biden was inaugurated two weeks later. Still too much believe Biden’s victory was the result of voter fraud, and we’re seeing more candidates open to refusing to accept an election defeat. In reality, 60% of Americans will have a candidate in November who questions the results of the 2020 election.

“The aftermath of the 2020 election revealed significant ambiguities in our presidential election system that were exploited too easily to fuel mistrust and fuel attempts to disrupt the legitimate transfer of power,” said Matthew Weil, associate director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Democracy Project. “This bipartisan Senate framework is a critical step in strengthening vulnerabilities, protecting election workers and improving the voting experience.”

The legislation passing Congress would modernize electoral counting rules and clarify that the vice president does not have the power to accept or reject voters alone. It also raises the threshold for objecting to a state’s voters. This proposal has bipartisan support, including from such unlikely allies as Senate Leader Chuck Schumer [D-NY] and minority leader Mitch McConnell [R-KY]which demonstrates the practical approach to modernizing the arcane law of 1887.

“It’s common sense, as others have said here, to modestly raise the threshold for objections to the electoral count — so that Congress still has options in truly extraordinary circumstances, but we’re avoiding an arms race where objections meet almost none. paralyze support. trial every four years,” Senator McConnell said when he announced his support.

The bottom line is that if the events of 2020 and early 2021 are repeated in future elections, our country and our economy will suffer. Business leaders must use their trusted voice to support meaningful, pragmatic actions to protect democratic institutions. This legislation will not address all the threats we currently face, but it is an important and timely step to prevent another catastrophic attempt to undo a democratic election result. Congress can take an important step to protect our democracy and economy by passing legislation to modernize the Electoral Count Act.