If a recent Rocky Mountain News/News4 poll is accurate, the voters of Colorado are going to approve Amendment 36, a ballot initiative aimed at dividing the states electoral votes proportionally to the major candidates popular vote in the state, ending the current system of awarding all 9 votes to the winner of the popular vote in the state. Only 2 states do not award all electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote. Maine and Nebraska instead offer a vote for the winner of congressional districts and two for the statewide popular vote winner. How important an issue is this?
If the proposed system had been in place in 2000, the eight votes Colorado had, 9 now, would have been split 5 – 3 for Bush and Gore. Gore would be President.
The poll shows that the 47% of the voters approve the measure, 35% opposed the measure and 18% remain undecided.
This measure is not just significant to Colorado and the U.S. today, it will have lasting effects as the proponents of the measure will seek to influence the manner in which electoral votes are distributed elsewhere and more significantly, should it be passed, aside from the definite legal challenges, it is to be retroactive and be in effect this year.
As a resident of Colorado, the idea of making our electoral votes worthless and providing a disincentive to candidates visiting Colorado doesn’t sit well with me. The larger issue to me is that the backers of this amendment do not see that by adapting this change, Colorado is less significant while California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois become more significant.
The founders understood that as the nation grew, a multitude of opinions and parties would develop, yet our system was built not to govern based on coalitions of many parties, or through legislative power broking, instead, the states, each a distinct and scaled vote, have a voice in the selection of the President. As a voter, I understand that I am voting for Colorado's selection as President, and I understand that if this initiative passes, I might as well not be voting. I wonder if Colorado voters know they will be abdicating their voice by approving this dangerous initiative.
UPDATE: I've written a response to a reader's request for a non-partisan review of Amendment 36. Perhaps it will help if you remain undecided.