In this Dec. 7, 2021, file photo, U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, speaks during a Senate Rules and Administration Committee oversight hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: Andrew Harnik / AP

Maine independent U.S. Sen. Angus King and Democratic leaders on the judiciary and rules committees have released a draft bill aimed at preventing partisans from hijacking the counting of presidential electoral votes.

The counting of states’ electoral votes has long been considered a ministerial act by Congress. That changed on Jan. 6 of last year, when Republicans aligned with former President Donald Trump tried to reject the results in swing states, while Trump himself tried to convince former Vice President Mike Pence that he could single-handedly reject state electors.

The bill, drafted by King and Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Dick Durbin of Illinois, makes it clear that the vice president has no such power.

It also ensures that state legislatures cannot try to overturn results by appointing different electors after Election Day, provides more time for election officials to complete recounts and tightens rules for members of Congress who object to electors or vote counts.

The senators said the bill is no substitute for voting rights reform, but addresses threats to the election process exploited last year.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.