This proposal is a referendum petition seeking voter approval of previous legislation on the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.*
- Amends Colorado statutes to allow Colorado to enter into an agreement among states to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote; and
- Takes effect when states with enough electoral votes to form a majority (270) have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is meant to assure that the presidential candidate with the most votes nationally will be elected president. States joining the compact agree to award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote, regardless of the vote in their state.
Currently voters across the United States vote for President and Vice President as a ticket with the total number of votes making up the popular vote. In December following the presidential election, electors from the Electoral College vote for President and Vice President. The US Constitution gives each state the power to appoint their electors. The Electoral College has 538 electors, the total number of senators and representatives in Congress from each state and the District of Columbia. Colorado has 9 electors. Political parties choose Colorado’s electors. In order to win the presidency, a candidate must receive 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes. Colorado, along with all other states except Nebraska and Maine, awards all of its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote. If no candidate receives a majority of Electoral College votes, the House of Representatives chooses the President while the Senate chooses the Vice President. The last time this happened was 1824. There have been five elections which had different results between the popular vote and the Electoral College vote. The most recent ones were in 2000 and 2016, and the remainder were in the 1800’s.
The Colorado General Assembly passed legislation to join the compact in the 2019 session. Voters in Colorado have the ability to petition to review legislative actions. A petition effort gathered sufficient signatures to place this question on the 2020 ballot.
This proposal commits Colorado to award its electoral votes to the candidate for president who wins the largest share of the national popular vote. It will only take effect when states with enough electoral votes (270) to form a majority have joined the compact. Currently 15 states and the District of Columbia with 196 electoral votes have joined the compact. These numbers include Colorado.
Those in favor say:
- The National Popular Vote guarantees the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all fifty states and ensures one person equals one vote in every Presidential election no matter where the voter lives. In 2019, the legislature and the Governor added Colorado to the National Popular Vote interstate agreement. Colorado became the 15th state to join. The National Popular Vote will become the way we elect our President once enough states representing the majority of presidential electors join the agreement.
- The President represents the entire country and should be elected by the majority of all Americans. Every vote for President should be relevant and equal regardless of whether the person votes with the majority of that state or what size of state that person lives in.
Those opposed say:
- Colorado’s nine electoral votes should go to the candidate who wins the most votes in Colorado, not California or Texas. National Popular Vote would move presidential election political power to big states and large metropolitan areas
- The National Popular Vote would result in more polarized elections and less consensus-building. Under the current system, candidates work to build the broadest coalition possible to win a majority of the Electoral College by competing for swing voters in swing states. That helps prevent extreme candidates from succeeding. This proposal would motivate candidates to energize turnout in areas where they are strongest by making extreme promises.
*A ‘Yes’ vote retains Colorado’s participation in the National Popular Vote agreement.
*A ‘No’ vote removes Colorado from the National Popular Vote agreement.