Oct 122004
 
Authors: Nicole Barrett

An amendment on the November ballots asks Colorado voters to

make a crucial decision as to how they will pick the next

president. It is so crucial in fact that had it been in place in

the 2000 election it would have changed the outcome.

Colorado Constitutional Amendment 36 proposes a split of

electoral votes based on the percentage of the popular vote each

candidate receives.

Had the amendment been in place in 2000, Al Gore would have won

the presidential election. Statistics from www.cnn.com show that

the final results from Colorado had former vice president Al Gore

receiving 42 percent of popular votes in Colorado in 2000, while

Bush won all the state’s electoral votes by receiving 51 percent of

the popular vote.

However, if Amendment 36 were in place, instead of receiving the

full nine electoral votes Bush would have only received five, and

Gore would have won the remaining four, giving Bush 268 total

electoral votes nationally and Gore 270 and the victory. As it

stood, Bush received 271 electoral votes and Gore fell short of the

presidency with 266.

While these calculations are only hypothetical, they illustrate

the potential this amendment could have.

The views surrounding the amendment both argue for

representation. Supporters of the amendment believe it will

increase individual representation, whereas the opposition believes

it will have a negative effect on state representation.

If voters pass the amendment, it would be in effect for the

November presidential election.

Supporters of the amendment suggest that Coloradans would be

more motivated to vote, as individual votes would have greater

weight on the outcome of presidential election, according to the

Ballot Information Booklet also known as the “Blue Book,” which is

provided by the Colorado General Assembly.

“It’s just fair. It is a much more accurate reflection of how

the state actually voted,” said Julie Brown, campaign director for

Make Your Vote Count, a group that supports Amendment 36.

Brown said the Electoral College should reflect the public

better. In 1992, Colorado only gave 40.1 percent of popular votes

to Bill Clinton but because former president George Bush, Sr.

received 35.9 percent, Clinton received the full nine electoral

votes, leaving 60 percent of Colorado unrepresented, according to

Brown.

However, some politicians feel the amendment would make Colorado

insignificant because the electoral spilt would likely be 5-4,

based on Colorado’s voting trends.

Bill Ray, spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party, said this

would discourage candidates from campaigning in Colorado. The

amendment would increase third party candidate’s likelihood to

obtain electoral votes from Colorado, therefore taking votes away

from majority parties.

Brown thinks candidates utilize the photo opportunity in

Colorado’s mountains to campaign in the state and she believes

candidates would continue to campaign in Colorado regardless of the

amendment.

She said that the Electoral College was intended for slave

states to have equal representation in elections and the amendment

proposes that Colorado return to the system prior to the Electoral

College.

Ashley McBeth, president of the CSU Young Democrats, believes

Amendment 36 is not a partisan concept.

“The members (of CSU Young Democrats) are given information

about the amendment, but decisions are made on a personal basis,”

she said.

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