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"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 4 April 2019  

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  Colorado jumps on National Popular Vote bandwagon
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On March 15, Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 19-042 into law, making Colorado part of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. However, there is confusion about what the bill does, when it will take effect and the purpose behind it, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mike Foote of Lafayette.
   According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s website, the Electoral College was established “as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.”
   The Electoral College consists of 538 members or electors, hailing from each of the 50 states, based on the number of members in each state’s Congressional delegation, the website states: “One (Electoral College member) for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators.”
   Colorado has nine Electoral College votes, which Foote said gives Colorado about 1.67 percent of the Electoral College votes overall. Through the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, Colorado’s influence would be about 1.75 percent of the votes in all, allowing the state’s citizens to have a louder voice in the presidential election, he said.
   “The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact does not do away with the Electoral College,” Foote said. “It keeps the Electoral College but uses the authority in the United States Constitution that says state legislators may allocate electors in any way they see appropriate.”
   The current Electoral College method is essentially a “winner-take-all” when it comes to each state’s votes, Foote said. If the Democratic candidate wins in Colorado, all nine of the Electoral College votes go to that candidate, he said. However, under the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, Foote said every vote in the country is equal, every vote would be recorded and every vote would matter.
   “My view is that the president is our only nationwide elected official and should be elected by the majority of the population,” he said. “The president should be elected by the majority of Americans because the president represents the citizens of the United States. As we have seen in history, the Electoral College allows the person who comes in second place to win the election and this would make sure that never happens again.”
   Mark Waller, District 2 representative on the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, is against the bill. “It is a compact created between a bunch of states that says once we get to the magic number of 271 electoral votes, we are going to pool all of our electoral votes together,” he said.
   The bill must reach 271 electoral votes committed to voting via the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact by having enough states pledge their Electoral College votes in order for that to become the new method of electing a president — with Colorado joining the compact, there are 181 committed electoral votes, Waller said.
   “Once it gets to 271, then all of these smaller states are effectively going to lose their voice, including Colorado,” he said. “It means the candidates will not have to come to swing states or smaller states to campaign. They will just go to the bigger population states. For example, there are 10 million people in New York City. That is twice the population of all of Colorado.”
   Waller said there will be no reason for candidates to campaign outside a few states, but Foote does not agree. He said for a candidate to be successful on a national basis, they will have to campaign nationwide.
   “The top 100 cities make up about one-fifth of the population in the U.S.,” Foote said. “If a candidate only ran in those cities, they would not have nearly enough votes. Statewide, candidates will not be able to just focus on cities like Denver or Colorado Springs; they will have to focus on all of them.”
   Foote said he does not see any scenario where the compact will reach the 271-vote mark before the 2020 presidential election, and it may not be there by the 2024 presidential election.
   In the meantime, Waller said there is a grassroots effort to sign a petition to have this issue put on a ballot for the voters to either approve or deny. “It is exciting to see the citizens in Colorado stand up and say we are sick of the Democrats in Denver trying to push things down our throats.”
   According to an article posted on the Colorado Public Radio’s website March 25, the petition to repeal Colorado’s participation along with 11 other states and the District of Columbia in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact has received more than 1,100 signatures in Mesa County alone. About 125,000 valid signatures are needed to put the repeal question on the ballot in the 2020 election, it states.
   “The framers that created the Electoral College did it for a reason,” Waller said. “So smaller and medium-sized states would have an equal voice when it comes to presidential elections.”
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