Voters To Decide On How Colorado Casts Its Electoral College Votes

Micheal Baca, Wayne Williams
Brennan Linsley/AP
Colorado elector Micheal Baca, second from left, talks with legal counsel after he was removed from the panel for voting for a different candidate than the one who won the popular vote, during the Electoral College vote at the Capitol in Denver, Dec. 19, 2016.

A measure on the 2020 ballot will ask voters whether to veto or uphold a new state law tying Colorado's electoral college votes to the national popular vote.

The Secretary of State's office confirmed Thursday that the referendum's supporters had submitted more than enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Earlier this year, Democrats in the state legislature agreed to join the National Popular Vote compact. The compact would only take effect once there are enough participating states to sway the overall outcome of the election. The group behind the compact says it's been enacted into law into states, including Colorado, that represent a total of 196 electors, with only 74 more needed to go into effect.

Opponents of joining the National Popular Vote compact argue it would weaken Colorado's state's influence on the national stage and ensure that candidates would overlook rural areas, in particular.

"It has been nearly 90 years since the people of Colorado have petitioned a bill onto the ballot in order to have an opportunity to reject what the General Assembly has done. So that is an indicator of how strong the opposition is in Colorado to [a] national popular vote," said Republican Senator Bob Gardner of Colorado Springs. "It is also a big indicator of how far out of step the progressive Democratic legislators and their party are with the wishes of the people of Colorado."

However, supporters of the compact dismiss the referendum to revoke the law as a partisan effort. The last two presidents to win office despite losing the popular vote were Republicans.

"We believe that a majority of Colorado voters support the governor and the legislature's decision to join the National Popular Vote. We look forward to running a vigorous campaign to advance the interest of a popular vote for president by winning the ballot measure in Colorado," said Patrick Rosenstiel, head of the Yes on National Popular Vote committee.

Debate over the issue hasn't been limited to the question of whether voters should veto the new law. Groups looking to recall Gov. Jared Polis and several state Senators cite their support of the National Popular Vote compact as a reason they should be removed from office.