DENVER — A statewide ballot measure that would have overturned a legislative action for the first time since 1932 has failed in its efforts.
Proposition 113, which would have repealed a 2019 Colorado law that pledges all of Colorado’s electoral votes to the winner of an unofficial national popular vote in future presidential elections, won by about 135,000 votes as of Wednesday afternoon, meaning the statute binding Colorado to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is in effect.
But the compact will not take effect immediately. In fact, it will not take effect until a national campaign has enough states on board totaling 270 electoral votes, which is what is needed to elect the president.
Currently, 16 states totaling 196 votes have signed on, including Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, California, Illinois, New York, District of Columbia and now Colorado.
How the compact will work — if it ever becomes official — is once the election is over, whomever wins the national popular vote would technically win the presidency because all states signed on would pledge their electoral votes to that person, regardless of how the individual states’ votes are cast.
Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, who along with Monument Mayor Don Wilson, led the repeal effort by successfully gathering more than 227,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot.
Pugliese said on Wednesday that a lot of out of state money poured in to buy Colorado’s electoral college votes.
“And they did,” Pugliese said. “It’s clear that Coloradans are divided.”
Three issue committees spent more than $5 million on the yes on Prop 113 effort, compared to only one committee for a no vote with a total contribution of $115.
The education piece about what the electoral votes mean to Coloradans wasn’t hard to get voters to resonate with, Pugliese said, but it was hard to overcome the outreach needed with so much money on the other side.
Pugliese said not all is lost. She is very proud of the work they did in giving Coloradans the right to make the decision about where their votes go, not a handful of legislators.
“We had over 2,200 grassroots volunteers,” Pugliese said. “We were one of the largest bipartisan movements in Colorado history to put a question on the ballot. I would absolutely do it again. I’m proud of giving people the opportunity to vote on something so important and personal, as people’s votes being taking away. We should be able to vote on it. We also gave a lot of people hope that you can push back on the compact in other states.”
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