Colorado will join eleven other states and the District of Columbia in the national popular vote interstate compact, after Democratic Governor Jared Polis signaled he will sign a measure awarding his state’s electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote.
The Hill reported on Monday that Polis said the Electoral College is an “undemocratic relic” of the country’s past, and he would like to see the method of electing presidents changed to a popular vote.
Polis told The Hill: “I’ve long supported electing the president by who gets the most votes. It’s a way to move towards direct election of the president.”
Colorado’s joining of the compact brings the coalition of states closer to the 270 electoral votes needed for a candidate to win the presidency, now just under 90 votes shy.
At 270 votes or more, the compact will go into effect and each member state will award its electoral votes to whichever candidate wins the national popular vote.
One benefit of ditching the Electoral College, according to supporters of the popular vote, is a broadening of the presidential map, bringing long-forgotten states into the fold as candidates plan campaign events.
Under the current system, presidential candidates generally focus on 12 battleground states, with six in particular receiving outsized attention: Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan.
The Hill noted that in 2016, “nearly 19 of every 20 events the two major presidential candidates held” were in those dozen states, with the majority of them landing in the six states mentioned above.
John Koza, chairman of National Popular Vote, which supports the interstate compact, said the shift would return power to the rest of the states.
“Under a national popular vote, the 38 nonbattleground states long ignored by presidential campaigns will be powerful again, because no candidate can win 270 electoral votes and the White House without also winning the popular vote across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”
To date, only solidly blue states have joined the compact, including California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, but The Hill noted that “red states like Arkansas, Arizona and Oklahoma and purple states like Michigan and North Carolina have passed the measure through at least one legislative chamber controlled by Republicans.”