(Feb. 21) — A bill sponsored by Rep. Jeni Arndt and Rep. Emily Sirota to enter Colorado into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact was approved by the House this morning.
“We shouldn’t let partisan politics get in the way of progress. This bill and this change are a modernization that our founders provided for our country,” said Rep. Arndt, D-Fort Collins. “Twelve battleground states already receive more federal disaster aid, more revenue for education and more presidential campaign visits than Colorado and other states.”
Once enough states totaling 270 electoral votes join the popular vote compact, the bill would ensure all of Colorado’s electors are awarded to the presidential winner of the National Popular Vote. Each state has the power to allocate their electors however they choose under Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.
“This bill has the
potential to help Americans believe that their vote matters whether you’re a
rural, urban or suburban voter – through this bill every vote counts
equally,” said Rep. Sirota,
D-Denver. “Coloradans shouldn’t allow a few battleground states like Florida
or Ohio to be the deciders for our entire country when electing the next
President of the United States.”
This bipartisan movement enhances democratic values and ensures that every person’s vote has equal value. States that are considered battleground states will no longer possess that title if this compact is adopted. Rather, SB19-042 would ensure each voter has an equal voice in a presidential election. The bill does not get rid of the electoral college.
The Colorado legislature approved the compact through one chamber in 2006. The National Popular Vote Compact is an agreement, supported by Americans on both sides of the aisle, and entered into already by eleven states including Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, California, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington and the District of Columbia. Compact states award all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote.
Rural states are not traditional battleground states in presidential elections. The current winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes diminishes the influence of rural states.
States and entities who have joined the compact have done so through their respective legislatures. Five out of our country’s forty-five presidents have finished in second place in the popular vote but assumed the presidency. Supporters from across the country, including two former Republican presidential candidates – Tom Tancredo and Newt Gingrich – have endorsed the change to the popular vote.
Our state has led the nation on efforts to restore faith in our democracy. Colorado just supported Amendments Y and Z to protect against partisan gerrymandering. Democrats at the legislature are stepping up efforts to fix our broken campaign finance system and to get mystery money out of politics to ensure every citizen’s voice is truly heard and isn’t drowned out by powerful special interests.
The Colorado Secretary of State’s office and the members of the League of Women Voters testified at a House hearing in support of the bill.
The bill is also sponsored in the Senate by Senator Mike Foote, D-Lafayette.
SB19-042 was passed by a 34-29 vote and now heads to the Governor’s desk.