Here is a reminder why the presidential candidates are spending so much money and time in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida: They are among the few so-called battleground states where support for the two parties is almost equally divided. Win the popular vote in Pennsylvania by a few thousand votes – one vote, actually – and all of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes are in hand; the hundreds of thousands of votes for the second-place finisher mean nothing.
In Pennsylvania, as in almost all other states, the winner of the popular vote takes all the electors.
Proposition 113, on the ballot this fall, will add Colorado to the list of states that want the victor in the presidential race to be determined by a larger pool of voters, not state by state. Those losing votes in Pennsylvania added to those in Colorado and Ohio, for example, might add to a strong showing in the other column.
The Colorado Legislature in 2019 voted to adopt the National Popular Vote. Following the clamor that this change is sufficiently significant to go to a vote of the people, it is now on the ballot. The result will either affirm or undo the legislative action.
To put the National Popular Vote in place, states that total 270 electors, the number needed to choose the president, have to approve the change. Currently, 16 states with a total of 196 electors are on board. A Yes vote on Proposition 113, which the Herald’s editorial board favors, will add Colorado’s nine (states receive one elector, chosen by each party, for each senator and representative).
The Electoral College will not be eliminated with the adoption of the National Popular Vote. It will remain in the Constitution, admittedly with little detail, as it has been clear through the years that each state has the authority to determine how its presidential electors are chosen.
The Electoral College is a two-step method of electing the president, and one of the checks and balances built into American decision-making. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1887 spent long hours determining how a president should be chosen.
With no shortage of candor, delegates argued for the Electoral College to offset an electorate separated by muddy roads and few newspapers that was thought to be uninformed and even uninterested. The delegates did not have confidence in the public to apply good judgment in choosing the right individual.
It is time to give the American electorate an improved opportunity to select its president. Vote Yes on Proposition 113.