COLORADO SPRINGS — One of the many questions before Colorado voters this November will ask to upend the state’s current role in picking the nation’s president.
Currently, Colorado’s nine electoral votes go to whichever candidate gets the most votes in the state. Proposition 113 would change that, instead of allocating those nine electors to the winner of the nation’s popular vote by joining the National Popular Vote Compact.
“The most votes should win. That’s how we run every other election, that’s how we should run the presidential election,” said State Senator Mike Foote, who was a sponsor of the bill to create the compact in 2019.
The bill passed, but a group lead by Monument Mayor Don Wilson and Mesa County Commission Rose Pugliese, a republican, collected enough signatures to put the question on the ballot.
“People’s votes are personal to them and they really wanted to vote on this issue on whether or not Colorado’s nine electoral votes should stay in Colorado with Coloradans,” he said.
The compact and Proposition 113 don’t change the U.S Constitutional requirement that in order for a candidate to be elected president, they need to win at least 270 electoral votes.
The compact will only go into effect if there are enough states that take part to break that threshold. Right now 14 states have signed on, totaling 183 electoral votes.
“The national popular vote is really the single-most-important way we can reform our democracy and our republic at the state level,” Foote said.
Foote sees the electoral college as diluting a one person, one vote system, saying a vote for president in Wyoming is equivalent to three votes for president in Colorado because of the system.
“Two of the last three presidents have assumed office without winning the most votes nationwide but, it also happened with three other presidents before that too. That’s five out of forty-five presidents. That’s a 10% failure rate really,” Foote said.
Pugliese sees it as a balance of power.
“The founders were really clear in making sure this system was set up so the interest of the majority did not trample the minority,” she said.
The two disagree on what this will do to presidential campaigning. Pugliese doesn’t think Colorado has fallen out of swing-state status yet and believes it has encouraged candidates to visit a smaller population base on the Western Slope, as compared to the Front Range.
“We don’t want to give our voice and our vote to larger population centers that might not share our best interests,” she said.
Foote said Colorado is not a swing state given that this presidential campaign has been focused in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.
“[Candidates] are not just going to focus on the top 100 cities and ignore the rural areas and that’s because they need votes from across the country in order to win. They have to appeal to coalitions across the country, they have to appeal to voters wherever they live. They can’t just ignore one set of voters like they actually do now under the current system,” Foote said.