Colorado Voter Initiative Could Decide U.S. Election
Mon Oct 25, 2004 02:10 PM ET
By Judith Crosson
DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado voters will decide on Nov. 2 whether the state will change the way it allots its nine Electoral College votes and the change could decide whether George W. Bush or John Kerry wins the presidency.
Colorado, like almost all other states, now gives all its electoral votes to whoever wins the most votes within the state. Under the proposed change, each candidate would get a share of the nine electoral votes based on his share of the popular vote.
If the measure is approved, the change would apply to the Nov. 2 election.
The measure arose because in the U.S. election system one candidate can win the most popular votes but come up short in the Electoral College tally that actually decides the presidency.
The College comprises the 538 people from the 50 states and District of Columbia, so a candidate must get 270 electoral votes to win.
In the 2000 race Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote but Bush won in the Electoral College.
If Colorado's proposed new system had been in effect in 2000 Gore would probably be president. In that close election, even though he lost the state's popular vote, he would have a secured some portion of Colorado's Electoral College votes that all went to Bush.
"We want every vote to count," said Julie Brown, director of the "Make Your Vote for President Count" campaign, which helped get the measure on the Colorado ballot.
Legal challenges have already begun. One asks whether the measure should apply to this year's election or not until 2008.
If passed, the measure would make Colorado the first state to allocate its electoral votes in line with the popular vote. For example, if one candidate received 55 percent of the vote, he would get five electoral votes, instead of all nine.
Winner-take-all is the way 48 of the 50 U.S. states allocate their electoral votes. Nebraska and Maine allocate their votes based on winning statewide and in individual congressional districts. But neither state has split its vote in nearly two centuries.
Republicans uniformly oppose the measure. Democrats originally favored it as a way to gain more influence in the generally conservative state.
But the mood has changed, and now two-thirds of Democratic state legislators and candidates oppose the measure, according to Susan Barnes-Gelt, a former Denver city council member.
"Don't put Colorado in a petri dish," she said. Besides, she said, the political affiliation environment can always change and Democrats could some day be in the majority.
Critics say Amendment 36 would be illegal because the U.S. Constitution says only state legislatures can make decisions about electoral votes.
But it is different in Colorado, Brown said. "The Colorado State Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the people in Colorado are the greater legislature," she said.
One unaffiliated voter has already gone to court trying to keep it from applying to this year's election. Jason Napolitano said that would be unfair because voters on Nov. 2 would not know if the winner-take-all system would still apply.
That is such BullShit!
Ok if you want to change it... worst case... it should take effect NEXT time!!!
But the Founding Fauthers set it up the current way for a REASON!!