GRAND JUNCTION–The Mesa County Board of County Commissioners on M0nday passed a resolution in support of a citizen-initiated effort seeking to repeal the National Popular Vote compact law recently enacted by the legislature.
Commissioner Rose Pugliese, who voted in favor of the resolution, is also one of the proponents of the repeal measure, along with Monument Mayor Don Wilson. They must collect 124,632 valid signatures from registered Colorado voters to put the measure on the ballot.
“Many counties throughout Colorado are adopting similar resolutions as we are on the National Popular Vote,” said Pugliese. “Because we’ve been so engaged on this issue individually as commissioners, we decided we would also adopt a National Popular Vote resolution to show on behalf of our constituents that this is an important issue to us, and that it should be up to a vote of the people on the 2020 ballot.”
The repeal effort is in response to the passage of Senate Bill19-042, which signed Colorado on to the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.” If enough states join the compact to make up the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, whichever candidate wins the popular vote nationally would get all of those electoral votes. Currently, under the Electoral College system, Colorado’s electoral votes go to the candidate that wins in Colorado.
Including Colorado’s nine electoral votes, the effort has 181 electors; 89 short of the compact going in to effect.
The measure passed out of the legislature with no Republican support, with at least six Democrats voting against the bill.
Critics of the National Popular Vote, such as Grand Junction attorney Rick Wagner, contend that it would make Colorado voters irrelevant in presidential elections. “Candidates would no longer be particularly interested in what happened in states like Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and so forth,” wrote Wagner in an opinion piece in Complete Colorado. “They could simply visit a few large coastal cities, promise them resources and benefits that might disadvantage other parts of the country and carry an election by purely popular vote.”
The Mesa resolution reads in part that: “The Board supports putting the National Popular Vote to a vote of the people on the November 2020 ballot and encourages voters in Mesa County to sign the petition and have a voice in this important issue.”
“This effort has really grown,” said Pugliese. “We have over 1000 volunteers circulating now at events around the state. I couldn’t believe it, we had three events in western Colorado this Saturday and by 2:00, before some of these events even started, they were already out of petitions.”
“I think it just goes to show that the grassroots is really engaged on this issue, and I know our constituents are incredibly engaged on this issue,” Pugliese concluded before the vote was taken.
“Radical change like this usually doesn’t work,” said Commissioner Scott McInnis of the National Popular Vote law. “And this is radical change, a radical adjustment of the voice that Colorado is going to have in Washington DC, and I don’t think the people of Colorado are going to buy off on it.”
The resolution passed 2-0. Commissioner John Justman was not in attendance.