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
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
Currently, the system gives all nine votes to the state’s
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
Ben Bleckley is a junior English major. His column runs every
Monday in the Collegian.