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Colorado - The Next Florida?

Looking for the next Florida?

Colorado voters to re-consider 'winner take all'

The Denver Post has this to say:

We urge voters to reject Amendment 36.

If the measure is approved, Colorado could lose political relevance as presidential candidates come to realize that there is so little at stake in Colorado. It wouldn't be worth a candidate's time to campaign here and to speak to Colorado concerns if the best result would be a one electoral vote advantage.

Never mind the constitutional crisis that would be provoked this year if the measure passes and Colorado's unusual vote loomed as decisive between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry. The Amendment was written to apply to this year's presidential election. In a close race, such as 2000, the inevitable litigation over that clause could throw the election into dispute.

Proportional electors is an interesting idea if applied nationally. Applied to a single state it has the effect of marginalizing the importance of any particular state enacting similar legislation.

There are two real constitutional problems with the measure. 1) If passed the results of the 2004 presidential election would be allocated according to the scheme (most likely 5-4). 2) The measure usurps the constitutional requirement that the Colorado state legislature define the rules related to its electors to the Electoral College. My guess is that the Supreme Court would quickly strike down the law. The constitution is pretty clear on the Electoral College process.

The obvious Florida reference comes if the initiative passes and the overall electoral vote difference is less than 5 votes. There's a variety of scenarios where either Bush or Kerry win the election by losing Colorado and the initiative passing. Next thing you know it's a repeat of Florida 2000.

Anyone want to bet that the cable news networks are NOT praying for that kind of controversial result?


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Comments (15)

I do think that if other st... (Below threshold)

I do think that if other states start discussing this a little bit more that the world of the electoral college might just start changing in the next few presidential elections... We shall see, obviously, but now that many more Americans are starting to see how votes are "valued" in some states as opposted to others, it's a hot topic.

It's been said many times b... (Below threshold)

It's been said many times before, but bears reiteration. The wisdom of the electoral college system is that it translates a close race into a mandate. Consider Clinton in '92. With his mere 43% of the vote, the college system gave him a mandate. W/o the college the election would have ended up in the House, for God only knows how long. Not that Clinton was such a good deal, but a nation without a government for an indefinite time is nothing to be wished for.
Moreover, it should be obvious that w/o the college system Bush/Gore 2000 would have been litigated in virtually every state in the nation. Another nightmare.

As I understand it, it's th... (Below threshold)

As I understand it, it's the Democrats in Colorado pushing for this amendment. They appear willing to do anything -- even undermining our electoral system -- to win. They wish to turn the USA into a Third-World country and this is part of their overall scheme. The idea of the Electoral College was basically to prevent populated areas such as large cities in the Northeast from lording over the entire nation.

So we'd turn voting for the... (Below threshold)

So we'd turn voting for the leader of the free world into a heavyweight boxing match, with a 10-point must" system?

While I don't think its a good idea to make a snap decision and change a process that has served us for however many years (hundred? two hundred? I don't know off hand and am too lazy to research at this hour), if they *WERE* to do that, it needs to be as a nation, just not whichever state sees fit to tinker.

The first presidential elec... (Below threshold)
Remy Logan:

The first presidential election under the Constitutuion and the electoral college system was in 1788. Each state determines how electors will be selected and apportioned. Originally, some states had the electors picked by the state legislatures. Other states have always used popular vote to determine electors. We've been through this mess 3 times now, it's been ugly and divisive every time, and the first 2 presidents only served 1 term.

But, guess what. The nation survived every time.

I think if the measure passes and it is a tight national race, the real issue will be if the Colorado Supreme Court will rule, as I think it should, that a ballot measure cannot affect a current election, even though it may affect future elections. This would apply because people voting would not know at the time of their vote how their vote will ultimately be counted. In other words, you can't change the rules in the middle of the election. This was the essential reasoning of the US Supreme Court in 2000.

I don't think the U.S. Supreme Court will get involved at all, unless the CO Court makes a ruling that is obviously not based on CO or US law and precedence.

I agree with McGrumpy that their is a lot of wisdom in how the Electoral College works and that we shouldn't fuck with it. No it's not perfect, but it is the best way.

As for individual states choosing to proportionately divide their votes, let them do it if they want. I have just one question for Coloradans -- when was the last time you saw any presidential candidate talking talking about Maine or Nebraska being a battleground state?

Another thing for the Dems to ponder, if California had had proportional allotment of electors in 2000, Bush would have been mopping up the floor with Gore's ass and Florida would have been nothing more than a footnote in college history books.

The Electoral College works well, we shouldn't kill it just because it burped.

It may be Dems pushing this... (Below threshold)
Hank Fenster:

It may be Dems pushing this, but they ultimately might regret passing it. Colorado is trending increasingly Democratic due to the influx of Hispanics and other immigrants. Eventually they'll assure the vote for President will always be for the Dem. Under the present system, that would give all of CO's electoral college votes to the Dem. If 36 passes, they'll assure that the Rep will always get some of CO's votes.

I think that the best thing... (Below threshold)

I think that the best thing Colorado could do as a culture and a state would be to take a fine and revisionary *look* at the Aspen Institute...Albright, Feinstein and, oh yeah, funding by Teresa Heinz-Kerry among others, via the Brookings Institute, and Susan Rice (Kerry's Advisor, not me), and...go take a fine look at the various sitess and read the Board of Directors and such.

Just saying, is all: there's reason to re-examine the changes in CO that is being done by the leading Democratic Think Tank in Aspen every year. And who is on the Board, and who affiliates.

If Florida were to go to pr... (Below threshold)

If Florida were to go to proportional electors, it could have a tremendous effect on U.S.-Cuba policy. Currently with 27 electoral votes, no politician wants to alienate the strongly anti-Castro Cuban vote. So the U.S. continues to isolate Cuba. If the Cuban refugee vote, affected only 3 or 4 electoral votes, politicians would be less afraid to advance plans normalizing relationships with Cuba.

I'm sure there are other instances where this is true.
I also know that outside of a primary or two and fund raisers, I'll probably never see a presidential candidate unless I cross the state line. One side thinks we're a sure thing, the other a lost cause.

The money for this effort o... (Below threshold)

The money for this effort on Q35 came from a rich california democrat who was trying to get Kerry 4 extra electoral votes. Some Democrats are backing away from this effort now because they fear the republicans will gin up their efforts even as Bush leads comfortably. This extra effort might cost demos house seats and a senate seat.

Walking my dogs under the c... (Below threshold)

Walking my dogs under the clear crisp evening skys of Colorado provides an excellent opportunity for ruminations. One such evening I have a somewhat vindictive thought: wouldn't it be great if in the narrowest of presidential elections, Kerry wins Colorado but loses the General because Q36 passes - Gaggles of Dem lawyers argue to overturn an amendment that they themselves sought to enact.

Come next monday, (early voting) I'll be voting against this proposed amendment, and I hope the majority of my fellow Coloradoans vote similarly.

This year, I had to explain... (Below threshold)

This year, I had to explain to one of my kids how we elect the president, and I said that there are 51 separate elections. Close, but good enough for government work.

About 'the next Florida', I've seen reports that with all these new registrations, some of the information the new voter puts on his form, gets deliberately changed before the form's turned in, setting up a situation where folks go to the polls and get challenged for the bogus info. If that happens in enough election districts, you've got 'the next Florida'.

Wouldn't it be funny if the... (Below threshold)

Wouldn't it be funny if the election came down to Colorado. Who won Colorado and the division of electoral votes. They would go right back to the supreme court to decide the next president. Might as well just give all the electoral votes to the supreme court. Let them pick the president every four years :)

Amendment 36 is going to ge... (Below threshold)

Amendment 36 is going to get thrashed:


Even the Denver Post (our lib Dem newspaper) is agin it.

And I predict that Colorado will be hard red on Nov. 2, never mind the poll du jour.

RCM's scenario is especiall... (Below threshold)

RCM's scenario is especially amusing because, just as in Florida, the whole mess would be as a result of something brought about by the Democrats (in Florida, the butterfly ballot; in Colorado, Amendment 36).

We need the Electoral Colle... (Below threshold)

We need the Electoral College for two reasons.

First, if we didn't have it, our Presidential elections would be a free-for all. When we finished the tallies, the number of votes would approach a billion.

At least now, if Illinois can't, or won't, control the Chicago machine, it only affects their electoral votes. If we were voting directly for the President, I, a New Yorker, would have to care if, a-la- Nixon-Kennedy, Cook County voted 28,000,000 to 3 for Kerry. The federal government would be forced to take over the implementation of elections, with all that means.

Second, issues of fraud and management aside, the truly tragic thing that would happen if we got rid of the Electoral College is that I would have to watch a lot more political ads.

Now, I like political ads, especially if they are clever and/or nasty, and I look for them on the basic cable news channels. But since the New York market is so expensive, and there is so little to contest here, I can usually watch entertainment without political bombardment. I mean, catching an ad or two during Paula Zahn's show, or Hannity & Colmes, is fine. I just don't want to see John Kerry's happy, effervescent, life-affirming mug during Two & a half Men.

Nobody deserves that.






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