Direct elections: National Popular Vote continues the long fight for voting rights

Congressman John Lewis was a legend and icon for his many accomplishments, including his long-standing activism on behalf of voting rights. Among his many keen observations was this: “The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.” We should take a moment upon his recent passing to reflect on the progress we’ve made over his lifetime and, most importantly, what we must still accomplish.

In front of every Colorado voter this fall will be an innovative way to expand the voting rights of every Coloradan and American. It is called Proposition 113 or the National Popular Vote. The League of Women Voters Colorado supports it and encourages all Coloradans to vote Yes.

When enacted, the National Popular Vote will make sure every vote for President matters, every vote is equal, and every voter across the country is relevant in each Presidential Election. The National Popular Vote will change the way we elect our President to ensure the candidate who receives the most popular votes throughout the country will win.

It treats the race for President like a truly nationwide election – because that’s what it really is – by making sure every vote for President from every state is counted towards each candidate’s grand total. It is through this simple change that we can make sure the Presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes throughout the country will actually win the election.

This should sound familiar because it is the way we elect every other officeholder across the country. Colorado has statewide elections for Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer. Every Coloradan’s vote counts equally no matter where in the state that person lives, and the candidates who receive the most votes win that election. It is well beyond the time that these same principles apply to the Presidential race as well.

That is why the League of Women Voters, a trusted non-partisan voice for education and inclusion in the political process, has supported a direct election of the President since 1970 and the National Popular Vote since 2006. We believe more voters will participate when they know their voice will matter and their vote will count. We know the current way we elect our President does not do that, and it harms our democracy.

Proposition 113 is on the ballot this fall as a referendum after the Colorado legislature and Governor Polis entered Colorado into the National Popular Vote interstate agreement in 2019. Colorado is one of fifteen states plus Washington D.C. that has become a part of it, and once enough states sign on, the National Popular Vote will be the way we elect our President. Voting Yes on Proposition 113 means we would approve the decision made by our legislature and Governor and remain a part of the National Popular Vote.

Congressman Lewis once said, “The right to vote is precious and almost sacred, and one of the most important blessings of our democracy . . . We must ensure every vote and every voter counts.”

The League of Women Voters of Colorado believes one of the best ways to make that statement a reality is to support Proposition 113, the National Popular Vote.

Karen Sheek is president of the League of Women Voters of Colorado

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