Recently, the Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson recently certified that the ballot initiative, Amendment 36 to the Colorado Constitution, to change the method of choosing Presidential Electors from the “Winner-take-all” system to a proportional system based on popular vote had a sufficient number of signatures to be sent to the voters on November 2, 2004. The proposed amendment includes a subsection that specifically states that the new method of allocating electors applies to the 2004 Presidential Election.
Currently, Colorado chooses its presidential electors in the same manner as 48 other states and the District of Columbia – using the winner-take-all method.
from the Colorado State Constitution:
Schedule Section 20. Presidential electors after 1876. The general assembly
shall provide that after the year eighteen hundred and seventy-six the
electors of the electoral college shall be chosen by direct vote of the people.
This is actually a rather vague description. Generally, in a Winner-Take-All popular-vote method, a slate of Electors is pledged to each Presidential/ Vice-Presidential ticket (the Electors’ names may or may not appear on the ballot). The slate of Electors pledged to the ticket having received the plurality of votes state-wide are chosen.
The new wording to allocate the Presidential Electors proposed to be added as Section 13 (subsection 2) to Article VII (Suffrage and Elections) of the Colorado Constitution is: THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ELECTORAL VOTES TO WHICH COLORADO IS ENTITLED SHALL BE DIVIDED AMONG THE PRESIDENTIAL TICKETS ON THE GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT, BASED UPON THE POPULAR PROPORTIONAL SHARE OF THE TOTAL STATEWIDE BALLOTS CAST FOR EACH PRESIDENTIAL TICKET, SUBJECT TO SUBSECTIONS (3) AND (4) OF THIS SECTION. EACH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTOR SHALL VOTE FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND, BY SEPARATE BALLOT, VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL TICKET OF THE POLITICAL PARTY OR POLITICAL ORGANIZATION THAT NOMINATED THAT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTOR.
Methodology summary from subsections (3) and (4): Electors are allocated in whole numbers only. The percentage of vote cast for each ticket is multiplied by the total number of available electors and rounded to the nearest whole number. If the sum of the total electors allocated is greater than the number available to be appointed, then the total electoral votes for the candidate having received the fewest number of ballots (that received at least one electoral vote) is reduced by one. If the sum of the total electors allocated is less than the total number of available electors, the Presidential Ticket receiving the greatest number of ballots is granted the remaining unallocated electors. Additional clarifications are included in the section with regard to ties, recounts, etc.
If this measure were in effect for the 2000 election, the results would be:
|Candidate||Total Votes||Vote %||EV*%||Rounded EV|
Since the total of allocated electors is seven and the total available is eight, one additional elector is awarded to Bush, for a final tally of Bush 5, Gore 3. Under this hypothetical scenario, Gore wins the election with 271 Electoral Votes.
The Colorado Consitution reserves to the people the right to act in place of the state legislature. This clause gives the people of Colorado the ability to decide how electors are chosen as Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution states Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors …
The initiative goes further, including subsection 5 (methodology for recounts of votes for each the ballot initiative and Presidential Electors), subsection 6 (election certifications of each the ballot initiative and Presidential Electors), subsection 7 (granting the Secretary of State the power to determine, by lot, which Presidential Electors are nominated from Presidential Tickets that qualify for at least on electoral vote), subsection 8 (Supreme Court original jurisdiction for the adjudication of all contests concerning Presidential Electors), subsection 9 (effectivity date of November 3, 2004), subsection 10 (“This section shall be liberally construed to achieve popular proportional allocation of Presidential Electors at the 2004 General Election”) and subsection 11 (stating that the “general Assembly may enact legislation to change them anner of selecting Presidential Electors or any of the Procedures related thereto” – seemingly granting the legilature the ability to undo this amendment).