Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) will sign a measure to award his state’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, moving a countrywide coalition one step closer to circumventing the Electoral College.
In an interview Sunday, Polis called the Electoral College an “undemocratic relic” of the nation’s past, one he wants to see relegated to the dustbin of history.
“I’ve long supported electing the president by who gets the most votes,” Polis told The Hill. “It’s a way to move towards direct election of the president.”
Colorado will become the 12th state to join the national popular vote interstate compact. Those 12 states and the District of Columbia, which has also passed a popular-vote bill, account for 172 electoral votes, just under 98 shy of the 270 votes a presidential candidate needs to win the White House.
The compact will not go into effect until the coalition includes states that add up to 270 electoral votes or more. Once it does go into effect, states that are part of the coalition would award their electoral votes en masse to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.
Supporters of the compact say relying on the popular vote would expand the presidential map, incentivizing candidates to travel to states beyond the traditional battlegrounds of Florida and Ohio.
“Under a national popular vote, the 38 nonbattleground states long ignored by presidential campaigns will be powerful again, because no candidate can win 270 electoral votes and the White House without also winning the popular vote across all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” said John Koza, who chairs National Popular Vote, the group that supports the interstate compact.
In 2016, nearly 19 of every 20 events the two major presidential candidates held were in just 12 battleground states. Most of those events were in just six states — Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan. Combined, President Trump and Hillary Clintonheld official campaign events in 26 of the 50 states, leaving 24 solidly red and blue states completely out of the action.
Colorado has come close to joining the compact before. The state Senate was the first legislative chamber in the nation to pass a popular-vote bill in 2006, but that bill died in the state House.
At least 11 other states have advanced popular-vote bills in recent months through at least one chamber of their respective legislatures. If all of those states complete those bills, it would add another 89 electoral votes to the compact, leaving them just nine votes shy of reaching the 270 marker.
So far, only reliably blue states have joined the compact, including California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington. But red states like Arkansas, Arizona and Oklahoma and purple states like Michigan and North Carolina have passed the measure through at least one legislative chamber controlled by Republicans, giving backers hopes of breaking through with the GOP. Reports Thehill