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Rosen: Colorado voters get final say on National Popular Vote

With their majority in both houses of the state legislature and the office of governor, Democrats exploited their monopoly on state government to ram through a measure that commits Colorado to a nationwide plot to subvert presidential elections. It’s called the National Popular Vote (NPV) Compact.

It’s a devious scheme to circumvent the Electoral College which was brilliantly crafted by our founders to conform with the constitutional republic they created, as codified in Article IV, Section 4 guaranteeing to every state a “republican form of government.” And decidedly not a direct democracy. The word “democracy” appears nowhere in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. The notion that we have a national popular vote for president is a fiction. What we have are 51 separate elections, one in each of the states and the District of Columbia. It’s only as a matter of curiosity that we tally the votes of those 51 popular elections to produce a national total. But it has no force of law.

The democratic principle of “one person one vote” applies more appropriately to the US House where seats are apportioned strictly by population; but not in the Senate where each state gets two votes regardless of population. Electoral votes for president are also assigned among the states to disproportionally favor states with low populations, and they’re cast winner-take-all (except in Nebraska and Maine) rather than proportionately based on a state’s popular vote. James Madison explained that, “The immediate election of the president is to be made by the states in their political characters.” That is, as individual entities not as members of any collective “compact.”

If enough states join the NPV Compact to enable it, all of those states’ electoral votes would go to the candidate who gets the most popular votes nationally. For example, if 70 percent of Coloradans voted for presidential candidate A in 2020, that would be ignored with all of our electoral votes committed to candidate B who got more votes in other states. And that vote count would be dominated by Democrat strongholds in California, New York and Illinois.

Although this seems absurd on its face, there’s a method to the seeming madness of NPV activists, which are almost all Democrats and liberals. Democrats want to leverage their political control of states with big-city population centers in presidential elections. They can already count on all of California’s winner-take-all electoral votes under the current system but that’s not good enough. They want to accumulate California’s popular vote margin, like Hillary Clinton’s 4.3 million in 2016, with the national total. (If you leave out California and New York, Trump won the rest of the country by a margin of 3.1 million votes.)

The above-aboard way to abolish the Electoral College would be to amend the US Constitution. But that requires ratification by three-fourths of the states. Enough low population states, understandably, would block that. So the NPV Compact is the Democrats’ cynical attempt to distort the original intent of the Electoral College and guarantee the election of Democrat presidents forever.

Well, it’s not over yet. As the last line of defense, the NPV may ultimately be stricken as unconstitutional. In the meantime, a statewide petition drive gathered 228,000 signatures empowering the people of Colorado to override the Democrat-controlled legislature and have the final say on NPV through a ballot question on the November 2020 ballot. Perhaps anticipating an embarrassing defeat to come, the spin on this from leading Democrats has been laughable.

Gov. Polis described the upcoming ballot question as “exciting,” crowing that Colorado would be the only state to rule on the NPV by a vote of the people rather than through the legislature. Please. Then why didn’t legislative Democrats draw up the NPV bill as a referred ballot measure putting the question to the people to begin with? Duh. Obviously, because the last thing Democrats want is for Colorado voters to reject NPV.

And it’s clear where Polis stands. He’s publicly called for a direct popular vote for president and branded the Electoral College as “archaic” and “an anachronism.” By that reasoning, does he also believe the US Senate is an archaic anachronism with two seats for every state regardless of population?

If a majority of Coloradans, including independents, vote “NO,” on NPV in November 2020, we’ll be withdrawn from the NPV Compact and Coloradans ─ not New Yorkers or Californians ─will determine which presidential candidate gets our state’s nine electoral votes. Now that would be truly exciting.

Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com. 

Editor’s note: All of Complete Colorado’s coverage and commentary on the National Popular Vote Compact is available here.

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