Making Democracy Work For All! The National Popular Vote

KGNU is partnering with the League of Women Voters of Boulder County on a commentary series called Making Democracy Work for All! which focuses on educating listeners on the workings of state and local government and letting them know how they can get involved at different stages of the political process.

This month League Peggy Leech, the President of the League of Women Voters of Boulder County, talks about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which the League supports.

 

 

You may have noticed quite a bit of recent press coverage and letters to the editor on the National Popular Vote Compact. I will do a brief explanation of Senate Bill 19-42, which passed through the Colorado Legislature on February 21, and is awaiting the signature of Governor Polis.

 

Senate Bill 19-42, if signed, will enter Colorado into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to elect the president by popular vote. States that enact this Compact will award all their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in the fifty states and the District of Columbia.

 

The basic effect of the NPV Compact is that we will all be voting as individuals for President, and no longer voting toward our state’s total for President.

 

The League of Women Voters supports the election of the President by popular vote as an effective means of strengthening our democratic election process. This Compact enables popular votes to determine the winner in Presidential elections, without changing the Constitution.

 

The Compact only takes effect when enacted, in identical form, by enough states to have a majority of the electoral votes, which is 270. Currently, states totaling 172 electoral votes have joined the Compact, and Colorado would add 9 more. Several more states need to join the compact for it to take effect.

 

The U.S. Constitution gives states exclusive power to allocate their electoral votes. It says nothing about allocating electoral votes in a winner-take-all system, which evolved in the 1800s. The winner-take-all system has resulted in campaigns focused only on the “swing states”, and the system leaves out the vast majority of voters in so-called “flyover states”.

 

In contrast, the NPV Compact would help ensure that every vote is equally important. A vote cast in a big city would be no more or no less valuable than in a rural area. Republicans in the most reliably blue states, such as California, would now have their votes counted, as would Democrats in reliably red states. And, since they know their votes matter, these voters would now have more incentive to vote.

 

There is the possibility of a citizens’ initiative to repeal the Colorado Legislature’s decision to join the NPV Compact. So, you may see people gathering signatures on petitions in the coming months, and it could appear on the 2020 ballot. The League is committed to providing information on the NPV Compact, so that voters understand what it is and how it works. We have 2 workshops scheduled very soon: February 28 in Lafayette, and March 5 in Boulder.

 

For more details on these events, and on National Popular Vote, visit our website at lwvbc.org.