One of the most contentious and least understood of Colorado’s new laws is the agreement to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. States in the Compact have agreed to assign all their electoral votes to the candidate who gets the most votes across the country. There are currently 22 other states that have joined Colorado in this agreement, with a total of 196 electoral votes. To go into effect, the Popular Vote Compact needs to be approved by enough states to have a total of 270 electoral votes.
People who support the Popular Vote Compact believe that in a presidential election, a vote from Colorado should carry just as much weight as a vote from Wyoming, California, or any other state. One person, one vote. This is a fundamental rule of democracy.
Why, then, do we have a system in which a president can be elected without winning the popular vote, as has happened six times in American history? This is not democracy. In fact, Republicans are fond of saying that we are not a democracy, we are a republic, which is another way of telling Coloradans that their vote does not deserve to be counted as much as a vote from a smaller state.
It’s time to bring democracy to the United States.
Under our current Electoral College system, each vote cast in Wyoming counts three times as much as a vote cast in Colorado. This is because of how votes are assigned in the Electoral College. Wyoming, with a population of about 578,000, receives three votes in the Electoral College. Colorado, with a population over 5.6 million, gets nine electoral votes. In a system that truly reflected the number of voters of each state, Wyoming would have three votes and Colorado would get 27.
This imbalance will only get worse as Colorado’s population increases.
Those who oppose the Popular Vote Compact claim that if we eliminate the Electoral College, candidates will only focus on California, Texas, and a few other high-population states, and Colorado will be left out of the process. It is true that the Electoral College was created, in part, in an effort to make sure that they were not dominated by states with more people.
Unfortunately, that effort has failed. Presidential candidates already focus on just enough states to win the Electoral College, even when that means ignoring the majority of Americans. The majority of Colorado voters voted for Hillary Clinton for president. Those votes were overruled by the voters of Wyoming and other smaller states. While this might please Republicans today, it will not please Republicans in the future when the same process happens to put a Democrat in the White House. Politics goes in cycles. Rules that favor one party today have a way of working against that party in the future.
The world’s greatest democracy, the United States, should be a democracy. Coloradans deserve to have their vote count just as much as a vote from any other state, no more and certainly no less.
If you liked this article, get involved. Democracy is not a spectator sport. www.ParkDems.org.