Thumbs up for Proposition 113

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This is the opinion of the Four Corners Free Press.

Let’s say you’re a Colorado resident who is a supporter of Donald Trump. You want him to have another four years in office. You have a Trump sign in your yard and maybe even a flag as well. And as soon as your ballot arrives in the mail, you’re going to mark Trump’s name and get that ballot to the city clerk’s office, pronto.

But your vote in the presidential race probably won’t count here. And it’s not because of any fraud or chicanery, but because of the Electoral College, a feature of our democracy that most citizens believe has outlived its intent.

Colorado is a winner-take-all state, one of 48. Only Maine and Nebraska allocate their electoral votes differently. It’s probable that on Nov. 3, Colorado’s nine electoral votes will go to Joe Biden, who is expected to win this state. If so, your vote for Trump won’t matter, just as it didn’t matter here in 2016.

On the other hand, if you’re a Biden supporter living in Wyoming, your vote won’t matter, either. Because Wyoming is going to go for Trump, along with its three votes.

The Electoral College is a peculiar institution. No other country uses such a system, nor do we vote for anyone else this way – not for governors, representatives, mayors, or other politicians. It’s an anachronism.

This odd and confusing method of choosing our country’s (and the world’s) most powerful and influential leader has five times resulted in the candidate who garnered the most votes nationwide losing the election. For instance, Hillary Clinton received nearly 3 million votes more than Donald Trump in 2016, but the will of our country’s majority was spurned. How would you feel if the second-place vote-getter were declared the winner of a county-commission race?

Colorado is not considered a swing state at this point, which is unfortunate, because swing states get the attention. Most campaigning is done in a few “battleground” states – Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin and a few others. And swing states garner political perks such as federal funds and bills geared to their interests.

Our current system works like this: The 50 states are assigned a total of 538 electors, according to the number of representatives and senators a state has, plus three for Washington, D.C. A majority – 270 – are required to choose the president.

If approved, Proposition 113 would mean that Colorado would enter into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, under which it would agree to have its electors vote for the winner of the national popular vote. Fourteen other states have already agreed to do this.

The compact won’t take effect until enough states have joined in that the total of committed electoral votes is at least 270. Right now the number is at 187, which would rise to 196 if Colorado citizens pass this proposition. If and when states with a majority of the Electoral College have approved of the change, the candidate with the most votes overall in the nation would take home the cake. And this is fair.

There is nothing insidious about this and most Constitutional scholars and lawyers agree it would not violate the founding principles. (No doubt the Supreme Court would be asked to weigh in.) At any rate, the approval of Proposition 113 would have no effect on this year’s presidential contest.

Opponents of this measure say they don’t want California and New York to be able to choose our leader. Well, there are 48 other states, as well as the District of Columbia. Even if every voter in California and New York chose the same president, it wouldn’t be enough to outweigh the rest of the country.

It’s a strange idea that voters in certain states, like Wyoming and Iowa, should be given more weight than voters in other states. We live in a nation where the majority supposedly decides things.

Ideally our Constitution would be amended and the Electoral College abolished, but changing the founding document is a very cumbersome and protracted process. (Just talk to supporters of the ERA.) Getting enough states to agree to give their Electoral College votes to the candidate who wins nationally is a more streamlined way of accomplishing the same end.

One person, one vote. Whoever garners the most votes, wins. That’s how it should be. Vote yes on Proposition 113.

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