DENVER (CBS4) – Some Colorado lawmakers want to change how some states’ electoral votes would count in future presidential elections. It would move the country toward a system where whomever wins the most votes nationwide wins the presidency.
The lawmaker carrying the bill says people demanded it after this year’s election in which Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump won the election.
The Constitution gives states discretion in how they dole out their electoral votes. Right now, the winner of a state’s popular vote wins all of the state’s electoral votes. But, what if states doled out their electoral votes based on who won the national popular vote?
Under the bill before state lawmakers, Colorado would join the national popular vote interstate compact — an agreement among states to award all of their respective electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
It wouldn’t kick in until there are enough states that — together — they account for the majority of electoral votes. A total of 270 are needed to win the presidency.
The compact currently includes 10 states and the District of Columbia, for a combined 165 electoral votes.
“This is about one person, one vote. Everyone’s vote being equal, whether you live on the coast, whether you live in the interior everyone’s vote is equal,” said Sen. Andy Kerr, a Democrat who represents Lakewood. “It’s the one race that everyone in the country can vote for and it’s the one race that has this very convoluted system that nobody quite understands a lot of the time. But this simplifies it and says whoever wins the most votes wins the election.”
The bill has its first committee hearing on Wednesday.
“Our forefathers were brilliant in designing a system which gave smaller states the ability to have their say in a presidential election. This gives states like Colorado a stronger voice. And quite frankly, whatever party they decide to vote for, it gives them a stronger voice. And presidential candidates will now come here to have that discussion,” said Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, a Republican who represents Sterling and areas around it. “If we go to a popular vote, Colorado’s out of the mix. They’ll go to New York, they go to Florida, they go to Texas, they go to California. And quite honestly, the elections may be over before Colorado polls close, because you know how the popular vote will go.
So far only Democrats have signed on to the plan, which doesn’t bode well in Colorado’s currently split legislature.