Oct 032004
 
Authors: Ben Bleckley

Arguably one of the most important issues Coloradans will vote

on Nov. 2 is not whom will be the next president. It is the vote on

Amendment 36.

The controversial amendment would divvy up Colorado’s nine

electoral votes proportionally to the candidates based on the

number of votes they receive.

Under the Electoral College system, each state receives a number

of votes equal to the number of U.S. senators and representatives.

Colorado has two senators and seven representatives, so our state

gets nine votes.

These votes are made by the state’s electors, who are submitted

by each political party on the ticket. They vote with other

electors in December on who will be the next president of the

United States.

Currently, the system gives all nine votes to the state’s

winner.

But if the amendment passes, presidential candidate John Kerry

could receive four electoral votes while Bush receives five,

instead of the “winner takes all” system.

Taken at face value, this amendment would allow for the voters’

voices to be more clearly heard. Instead of ignoring all the

Colorado Gore supporters in 2000, they actually would have won a

percentage of the electoral votes.

But in an election that could be as close as the one in 2000,

Amendment 36 makes Colorado the new Florida.

Opponents point out that 36 would reduce the attention Colorado

would get from presidential candidates, since only one or two

electoral votes would be up for grabs.

The real issue, however, is that 36 is on the ballot in an

election year. In a state that is polling Bush with a slight lead,

are Democrats trying to help Kerry out?

In Wednesday’s issue of the Collegian, the editorial staff

pointed out in “Our View” that this bill would be “unfair and

ineffective if not applied to every state” – the thought being that

states the same size as Colorado would get a larger electoral voice

than Colorado once our votes were split.

Far be it from this columnist to disagree with the Collegian

editorial staff, but the nation has been in dire need of election

reform for the past four years. While a direct majority vote of the

whole nation would silence citizens of sparsely populated states, a

distribution of a state’s electoral votes is the best (and only)

idea Coloradans have on the ballot.

And we wouldn’t be the only state to use a similar system. Maine

has a statewide vote for two of its electors and the other two are

divided up by congressional district.

Ulterior motives aside, voters might have to wait another four

years to see a bill like this again.

Vote on whether this electoral reform sounds smart, not on how

it will affect the presidential election. This is the first step in

nationwide reform and Colorado voters are big enough to take

it.

Ben Bleckley is a junior English major. His column runs every

Monday in the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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