Nov 6, 2020 | NEWS | By Tali Juliano | Image by Xixi Qin
Proposition 113 on the Colorado ballot asked voters if they want to elect our nation’s presidents through the national popular vote rather than the electoral college system. Previously, the Colorado legislature passed this measure with Gov. Jared Polis’ signature, but a conservative group, Protect Colorado’s Vote, appealed to get it on the ballot so that Colorado voters could decide the issue.
On Tuesday night, Prop. 113 passed with 52.2% of voters’ support, with 47.8% opposing. Thus, Colorado joins the National Popular Vote Compact, which needs enough states to represent a total of 270 electoral votes to adopt the compact before it can go into effect. With Colorado signing on, the compact has a total of 196 Electoral College votes, collectively spread across 14 states.
The Yes On the Popular Vote group raised $4.5 million dollars to pass Prop. 113, drawing attention to this race in Colorado.
Sen. Michael Foote explained his support for the proposition, saying, “One person should always equal one vote, and the presidential candidate who gets the most votes should win the election.”
Much of the debate on Prop. 113 centered around whether the popular vote would allow Colorado to receive more or less attention as presidential candidates campaign across the country. The “yes” side argued that its passage would allow for more attention, while the “no” side argued that it would lead to less attention paid to the state.
“The current Electoral College system guarantees that Colorado has leverage in presidential elections,” Rose Femia Pugliese, a Mesa County Commissioner, and Don Wilson, the Mayor of Monument, wrote in their op-ed to the Denver Post. “We matter! And Colorado does best when presidential candidates must compete for our votes. Indeed, the current system has earned Colorado many presidential candidate visits in recent elections.”
It will be interesting to see how campaign focus on Colorado changes under the existing electoral college system, as Colorado currently appears to be shifting to a solidly blue state — seen this November through the election of former-Gov. John Hickenlooper to the Senate and with 55% of Colorado voters supporting Joe Biden for president.
The current presidential election remains a significant backdrop to the debate surrounding the Electoral College. Votes are still being counted, but as of Wednesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden has comfortably secured the popular vote, leading by approximately 3,500,000 votes. However, recent presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump were elected president without winning the popular vote, in 2000 and 2016 respectively.
It remains to be seen whether enough states will sign on to attempt to instate a national popular vote in the U.S., as well as how our courts will respond to this question. Coloradans made this reality more possible Tuesday night by lending their nine electoral votes to the National Popular Vote Compact.