Colorado could be part of voting history next general election day, joining 11 other states looking to ensure that their electoral college votes echo the will of the American majority to elect the next president.
Gov. Jared Polis signed a law Friday that would allot the state’s electoral college votes to whichever candidate won the national popular vote. The Washington Post previously reported the law’s signing.
The trend comes as Americans have shown greater support in recent years for a more democratic presidential election process, without the translational risks of the electoral college. But the daunting requirement of changing the Constitution, where the electoral college is formally codified, has posed a challenge to both public and political support for the issue.
The state’s legislation would only take effect if enough other states sign on to secure the cumulative 270 electors needed to elect a president, and Colorado’s votes raise the current total to 181 electors. Most states have winner-take-all laws in place dictating that their electors go towards whichever candidate takes the state’s popular majority, while Maine and Nebraska opt to proportionally split their electors based on the vote.
The eleven other states that have signed on — California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state — as well as the District of Columbia and now Colorado, make up the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. New Mexico, which has five electoral votes, sent a bill to the governor’s desk to elect the president by popular vote and may soon join the group as well.
And the electoral college had been contentious not long ago. In 2016, President Donald Trump won the presidential vote with 306 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 232 votes. But Clinton won the popular vote, garnering 48.5% of the vote to Trump’s 46.4%.