DENVER–Protect Colorado’s Vote (PCV), the issue committee opposing the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPV) announced earlier in September that 11 chambers of commerce from across the state have endorsed the “No on Proposition 113” campaign.
PCV says the Denver Metro, Fort Collins, Loveland, Grand Junction Area, South Metro Denver, Greeley Area, Pueblo Area, Alamosa, Trinidad, Las Animas County Chambers of Commerce and the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation have joined 27 Colorado counties, as well as several cities and towns and various trade groups in urging voters to repeal the NPV Compact.
The Colorado legislature passed Senate Bill 19-042 last year, requiring that all nine of Colorado’s electoral votes for president to the national popular vote winner, once the NPV Compact is activated. The measure passed with no Republican support, and with at least six Democrats voting against the bill.
In response to the legislation, Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese and Don Wilson, Mayor of Monument, filed a referendum petition to place the statute on the 2020 ballot for voter approval. The Secretary of State’s office (SOS) certified on August 29 that a sufficient number of the 228,832 signatures submitted on August 1 were deemed valid. Only 124,632 valid signatures were required.
A no vote on Proposition 113 on the November ballot repeals the statute, keeping Colorado out of the compact.
“Coloradans are in the best position to determine which presidential candidate represents our interests,” Pugliese, speaking for the Mesa County Board of County Commissioners, told Complete Colorado. “We should not give our voice and our vote away to larger population centers like California and New York. Colorado’s nine electoral college votes for President should be cast by Coloradans in Colorado. We encourage Coloradans to vote NO on Proposition 113.”
El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf told Complete Colorado, “I ask every Colorado citizen to vote no on Proposition 113 this November. This “National Popular Vote” proposition violates Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution and its companion 12th Amendment.”
VanderWerf goes on to say, “David Kopel, former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Colorado, and prestigious constitutional lawyer, successfully makes the case that Proposition 113 also violates the Colorado Constitution.”
“If this is enacted into law, Colorado voters will be giving the power of their vote to population centers in other states, and lawsuits costing millions of dollars will tie this up in the courts. Let’s not go there,” said VanderWerf.
Kopel, now Adjunct Professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and Research Director at the Independence Institute*, a free market think tank in Denver, points out that the Colorado Constitution requires that “the electors of the electoral college shall be chosen by direct vote of the people.”
Diane Schwenke, President and CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce told Complete Colorado, “Our chamber of commerce very early on, took a position as opposing the compact, and, and supporting the ballot initiative that would turn back the statute that put Colorado into the compact.”
With the western part of the state being dominated by federal lands, Schwenke is concerned that coastal states like California and New York might not give “flyover country” the consideration it deserves if Colorado’s electoral votes are determined by a majority vote in other states.
“The Grand Junction area and our businesses are very dependent upon water, and a lot of water decisions get made at the federal level, but we’re also over 70% federal lands,” Schwenke said. “A lot of our economic activity, from tourism to agriculture, to energy, is dependent upon that multiple use philosophy on public land.”
“We are an organization of about 950 mostly small businesses. Seventy-five percent of our members have 20 employees or less, so we look at everything through the lens of what does this do for small businesses,” said Schwenke. “Our perspective has to do with how much influence we will have as a state in electing leadership that makes a lot of decisions regarding how our businesses in this area can survive.
“The last thing Colorado needs is California dictating Western water policy and imposing its high-tax, overzealous, job-killing agenda on the rest of us,” Schwenke continued.
* Independence Institute is the publisher of Complete Colorado.