Colorado voters will decide whether to remain in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact after a proposed referendum easily cleared the signature bar Thursday to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.
The Colorado Secretary of State’s office announced that referendum campaign had amassed 147% of the 124,632 valid signatures needed to place Senate Bill 42 on the ballot.
In March, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill, which requires Colorado’s nine electors to the Electoral College to cast their votes for the winner of the national popular vote in presidential elections, no matter which candidate captures the most state votes.
Four blue states—Colorado, Delaware, New Mexico and Oregon—joined the interstate compact in this year’s legislative session, with Democrats largely in favor and most Republicans opposed.
The compact would go into effect after states with a combined 270 electoral votes, the number required to elect the president, sign on to the compact. So far 15 states and the District of Columbia have joined, reaching 196 electoral votes.
Breaking News: The Secretary of State has verified the petition signatures and now voters will be able to protect Colorado’s nine Electoral College votes in the 2020 election! #copolitics https://t.co/LASzXdCGFK
— The Colorado GOP (@cologop) August 29, 2019
Supporters of the NPV responded Thursday by announcing the formation of Yes On National Popular Vote, a Colorado-based issue committee dedicated to upholding the newly passed state law.
“We’re asking Colorado to vote YES on a popular vote for president, and ratify the excellent decision made by the Governor and the Legislature,” said Patrick Rosentiel, who heads the committee, in a statement. “A majority of Colorado voters want a national popular vote for president, and they will demand one next November.”
While the NPV bills itself as non-partisan, Democrats embraced the issue after the 2016 election, which saw Republican Donald Trump lose the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton, but win the electoral vote.
The same thing happened in 2000 with Republican George W. Bush, who became president after losing the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, bucked the trend earlier this year by vetoing a National Popular Vote bill passed by the Democratic legislature, saying that the measure would dilute Nevada’s influence in presidential races.
Protect Colorado’s Vote, led by Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese and Monument Mayor Don Wilson, argued that the NPV would result in candidates gravitating toward highly populated urban areas like Los Angeles and New York City, making Colorado an afterthought.
Supporters of the compact say it protects the “one man, one vote” principle and shifts the focus away from a handful of swing states that now exercise outsize control over the presidential race.
Colorado organizers turned in 228,832 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. No state has repealed its entry into the interstate compact.
The last time Colorado hosted a referendum vote was in 1932 over the state legislature’s tax on Oleo margarine.
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