DENVER – The Colorado House committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs approved a bill that would require electors to award Colorado’s nine electoral to the winner of the popular vote.
The Colorado Senate passed Senate Bill 19-042 on Jan. 29 on a party-line 19-16 vote, with all Senate Democrats voting to support the measure.
If signed into law, Colorado would enter into an interstate compact that awards the winner of the popular vote with the electoral votes from their states or district.
During the session in the House committee on Tuesday, the panel rejected two amendments. One would have required a referendum to voters asking “Shall the state adopt an agreement among the states to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote?” The other called for not enacting the law in Colorado unless the United States Congress gave consent.
Similar legislation has been enacted by the blue-states of New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, and Washington D.C. The effort hopes to convince enough states to pass the law so that it would total 270 votes, the majority needed to win the White House.
If Colorado Gov. Jared Polis were to sign it into law, there would 181 electoral votes pledged to the effort. In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton won by approximately 2.87 million votes in the popular vote, but Republican Donald Trump won the electoral college vote 306 to 232 votes.
The loser of the popular vote won the presidency three other times in American history: John Quincy Adams (1824) Rutherford B. Hayes (1876) George W. Bush (2000)
Democratic state senators who support the bill said it is within a state’s legislature’s right to determine how Colorado’s electors are chosen for presidential contests. Republican state senators who voted against it called it “very Un-Coloradoan” and said it made votes in Colorado less important than votes in other states.
(Note: This story has been updated for clarity)