All Americans should have a voice in our presidential elections and every vote should matter. Millions of Americans, whether they live in rural, suburban or urban areas, are totally irrelevant when it comes to presidential campaigns. That would change under a national popular vote. Coloradans should vote “yes” on the National Popular Vote ballot measure this fall to make sure all of our voices matter when choosing our president.
The 2020 presidential campaigns are not on hold as we all work to get through the coronavirus. The campaigns and their supporting groups are already building outreach organizations and spending millions of dollars in Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina, but not Colorado.
That’s because Colorado has joined the vast majority of states considered to be safely red or safely blue for the purposes of presidential elections. In fact, for the 2020 election eight states at most, just eight out of fifty, are considered swing states. Voters living in those swing states are the only states the presidential candidates will focus on and spend millions to win.
Colorado does not have much in common with rural states like Vermont or South Dakota, small states like Rhode Island, or bigger states like Ohio. The presidential campaigns lump us together with them and most other states though. We all happen to be irrelevant.
Our current system for electing the president awards every state’s Electoral College votes to the winner of the most popular votes within that particular state. It is called the “winner-take-all” system. That works out well for voters who live in closely contested swing states as well as voters who are in the majority in every other state.
It does not work well for millions of Americans whose votes are simply tossed aside.
Some say the winner-take-all system benefits rural communities. Before accepting that assertion, ask yourself how many times a presidential candidate has campaigned in or built outreach organizations during the general election in rural states like North Dakota, Kansas or Oklahoma?
Also ask how it has worked out for the majority of rural Coloradans (including Park County) who voted for the Republican presidential candidate since 2008. All of those Republican popular votes, over 3.5 million during those three elections, have resulted in zero electoral votes from Colorado.
Others say the current winner-take-all system actually benefits urban areas. Tell that to the majority of voters who live in blue cities within red states. Everyone who wants to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate in Jackson, Mississippi or Salt Lake City knows that vote will be irrelevant.
In reality, the winner-take-all system does not really benefit anyone and hurts the country. Presidential candidates have to focus only on getting the majority of votes in swing states, and then govern in a way that will get those votes again in their quest for re-election. Most Americans are left out of that process.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The United States Constitution specifically enables states to choose how their Electoral College votes will be allocated. Colorado recently joined fifteen other states in deciding its Electoral College votes should go to the presidential candidate that wins the most popular votes nationwide. Other states must come on board before that agreement goes into effect, but once that happens it will change the way our presidents are elected and govern for the better.
Coloradans will get a chance to approve our membership in the national popular vote during this fall’s election. If you believe every vote should be relevant and that the presidential candidate that wins the most votes nationwide should win the presidency, you should be a “yes” on the National Popular Vote. Join us at www.ParkDems.org.