Colorado Republicans are calling for all hands on deck to testify against a seemingly inevitable bill that would pledge all of Colorado’s nine Electoral College votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote.
The Senate approved the bill, proposed by Sen. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, in late January, passing the measure to the House, where it’s sponsored by Reps. Jeni Arndt, D-Fort Collins, and Emily Sirota, D-Denver.
The House Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs will hear the measure Tuesday.
The opposition can help in that committee, state GOP Chairman Jeff Hays said in a news release.
Hays said the bill undermines the U.S. Constitution’s federalist principles, and with Gov. Jared Polis’ support, the committee hearing is “our last chance to protect the Constitution from the Colorado Democrats.”
The measure — an agreement between states whose legislatures vote to join — isn’t necessarily partisan however, Foote has said.
Already, 11 states have joined, and about a third of supporting legislators in those states were Republicans, he said.
But many Republicans take the pact as a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s 2016 election.
He, like former President George W. Bush in 2000, won the 270 electoral votes needed for the presidency but lost the national popular vote.
Hays and other opponents say the measure could splinter an already-fractured country and would lessen the value of Colorado’s votes.
If Coloradans vote for one candidate but another wins the national popular vote, that second candidate — for whom Coloradans did not vote — still would get the state’s electoral votes.
Using the national popular vote would effectively allow presidential candidates to wield the country’s largely Democratic urban areas while ignoring the rural areas, opponents say.
But questions of constitutionality are unfounded, Foote said, and a candidate who focuses solely on major cities would lose.
Instead, the measure is meant to encourage candidates to spread beyond big cities and should boost voter turnout, he said.
Using the national popular vote allows each vote to be counted equally no matter where it is cast, he said.
The committee hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Room 271 in the Capitol, 200 E. 14th Ave, in Denver.
“How long the committee goes will depend on how many people show up to testify,” Hays said.