DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado voters approved Proposition 113, The Associated Press reports.
With the measure’s approval, Colorado will join a national pact to elect the president based on popular vote instead of the Electoral College.
Officially called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, by joining the group, Colorado would pledge to give all of its electoral votes to the national popular vote winner.
The compact would only take effect if states representing at least 270 electoral votes (half of the Electoral College, plus one) approve it, Ballotpedia reports. The measure currently has 187 Electoral College votes, with Colorado bringing the total to 196.
“If we can elect our president in a way that every vote counts, that means that the presidential candidates and the presidents themselves will have to focus on the entire country,” said Mike Foote, a spokesperson for Colorado’s National Popular Vote campaign.
Opponents don’t like the idea of how a presidential campaign may focus simply on large metropolitan areas like New York or Los Angeles to win elections.
“Our presidential election is the only election we have that combines state populations and state sovereignty to elect an official to oversee all,” said Monument Mayor Don Wilson. “Those are large, concentrated populations that have different concerns than we do in middle America.”
“Even if one candidate were to win every single vote in California, which of course we know wouldn’t happen, they still would only have 12 percent of the population, which is not enough to win,” Foote said.
Right now, Colorado has nine electoral votes. However, it is expected to gain a 10th due to continued rapid population growth.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received about 2.9 million more votes than now-President Donald Trump in 2016. In 2000, former Vice President Al Gore lost the election after receiving about 543,000 more votes than former President George W. Bush.
But the outcome of this national vote effort may be inconsequential, according to University of Denver Professor Bob Hardaway, who points out Article II in the United States Constitution gives the legislature of every state the power to cast its electoral votes as it chooses.
“Since 1876, every state has chosen to delegate its power to choose electors to the citizens of their respective states,” Hardaway said. “This scheme (National Popular Vote Interstate Compact) is based on the illusory premise that voters actually cast their votes for candidates, when in fact they only cast their votes for electors who may or may not be pledged to, or even be bound, to cast their vote for any particular presidential candidate,” Hardaway said.