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Colorado could bypass Electoral College

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DENVER, Colorado ” Colorado lawmakers are moving forward on an initiative to bypass the Electoral College and guarantee the winner of the national popular vote is elected president.

Colorado’s House will debate the change, which passed the state Senate in 2007 but stalled in the House. The maneuver would award Colorado’s nine electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, not the winner of the state popular vote.

If enough states adopt the change, it would guarantee the presidential candidate with the most votes wins. The loser of the popular vote has won the Electoral College and become president four times, most recently in 2000, when George W. Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore despite receiving fewer votes than Gore.

This year, the popular vote proposal has passed a Colorado House committee and awaits a vote by the full House. Supporters say the time has come to change the way presidents are elected.

“Every vote for president by each and every American should count equally,” Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, told The Gazette in Colorado Springs. Kerr is sponsor of the measure. “Whoever receives the most votes for president in all 50 states should become president.”

Because each state is free to choose how it rewards its electoral votes, the maneuver does not require the U.S. Constitution to be changed, and it would take effect only if enough states sign on to make up 270 electoral votes, the number needed to elect a presidential candidate.

If Colorado adopts the change it would be the fifth state to do so, after Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey. Dozens more state legislatures are considering the maneuver, though its prospects in many states are dim. In three states ” California, Rhode Island and Vermont ” the plan has been approved by lawmakers but vetoed by governors.

Republicans in Colorado oppose the maneuver because it could mean the popular winner in Colorado does not receive the state’s electoral votes.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs. “I’m not sure what the problem is here.”

Small, less populous states say tweaking the Electoral College would diminish their influence in national presidential politics. Advocates of the change say the Electoral College forces candidates to spend undue time courting swing states, while ignoring whole sections of the country no matter how many people live there.


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