A state lawmaker wants Colorado to join the movement to replace the current Electoral College System with one that awards the presidency to the winner of the national popular vote.
Democratic Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, says legislation is in the works that would allow Colorado to join an interstate popular-vote compact.
Kerr says he’s motivated by the recent presidential election results. Republican Donald Trump won with 304 Electoral College votes, even though his rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, garnered around 3 million more votes.
“My constituents have very loudly let me know that this is something they would like to have happen,” Kerr said. “Quite literally about half of the emails I’ve seen in the past month or so have been about the national popular vote.”
Kerr sponsored similar legislation in 2009 when he was a member of the state House of Representatives. That bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.
Kerr is not sure whether he will sponsor this year’s legislation, but he is certain a bill will emerge.
If legislation passes the split legislature, where Democrats control the House and Republicans have a majority in the Senate, Colorado would agree to award its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. The policy would only go into effect if enough other states pass similar legislation to achieve a majority of the Electoral College.
Ten states already have this type of law on the books.
“At the end of the day, I truly feel this particular movement of a national popular vote really gets to the heart of ‘one person, one vote,’” Kerr said. “And it treats every single voter in our country equally.”
States are allocated electoral votes based on the size of their Congressional delegation: one for each Representative and Senator. Colorado has nine electoral votes. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
Kerr and other Electoral College critics say the current system means smaller states disproportionately have a bigger say in the outcome of an election, because even the least-populous states get three electoral votes.
“The entire state of Wyoming has a population less than that of Jefferson County,” Kerr said. “Wyoming has 3 electoral votes. And (it) basically gives a person living on a ranch in Wyoming about two to three times the electoral power in the presidential election as someone in Colorado.”
Kerr said he has yet to secure bipartisan support at the Capitol.