CO Rejects Bad Improvement


What could have been a great step for electoral reform in a major state and one of the best monkey's-paw gifts of the year has instead become another might-have-been. Colorado voters have rejected Amendment 36, which would have established proportional electoral voting. Sounds good (Nebraska and Maine already assign electoral votes this way), but there was a Catch 36, which would have made the amendment binding on this election.

I like the idea of proportional electoral representation, and I like it enough to wait four years to see it implemented, but this retroactive (or maybe lateralactive) business was a weasel deal by state Democrats to salvage a few electors for Kerry in a state that was expected to go for Bush. (Details, and a quote from this year's best-named political committee—Coloradoans Against a Really Stupid Idea—here.) Thus it was fun to see the squirming in the last few weeks, as it looked like Kerry might win the Centennial State and still get rooked. In the event, the Democrats lost, and lost again (though they managed to rack one big win in the JonBenet State).

NEXT: Courage...

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  1. That’s not how ME and NE count their EVs; they give 2 votes to the state winner, and one vote to the winner of each congressional district.

    And whichever state is first to do this will be totally ignored by presidential candidates; no one’s going to waste their time trying to pick up 1 EV.

  2. crimethink,

    I dunno, being ignored by the Federal government seems like a good idea to me. Furthermore, depending on how tight the race is, picking up one EV might be important – it all depends on context.

    Its unfortunate that all the bigot amendments – except for perhaps the one in Oregon – won.

  3. I don’t know, that 1 EV in Maine is looming pretty large at the moment.

  4. I don’t know, that 1 EV in Maine is looming pretty large at the moment.

  5. Syd,

    Kerry got the 1 EV I think.

  6. Yes, I know that 1 EV can loom pretty large — but the question is, is it worth wasting scarce time and money on during the campaign?

    NH, NV, and NM, which have 4, 5, and 5 EVs, have been close throughout the campaign, but they haven’t received nearly the attention that OH, PA, and FL (20, 21, 27) have, due to difference in EVs. Had CO passed the ammendment, they would effectively have 1 EV for every 11% of the popular vote. No way a candidate is going to bother with that.

  7. Personally I think the “being ignored” argument is a dumb one, but crimethink is correct in that that was the big argument all the newspapers and pundits and ads were using against the amendment (I live in Denver). If the, uh, lateralactivity of it was ever made an issue, I sure didn’t notice it (I wouldn’t claim exhaustive knowledge of local political ads and punditry, but I think I got the main whiff). I was slightly nervous about the lateralactivity myself, but I thought it was way worth it to finally do something everyone bitches about almost as much as the weather and does almost as little about. Oh well.

  8. As far as Dem victories in Colorado, the Dems took control of both the state house and state senate, which hasn’t happened here in a long time (they were both R last term).

  9. Apparently Coloradans are notorious ticket-splitters. Don’t know or understand why, but maybe that’s why I like it here!

  10. The way I see it, the Electoral College is like the Infield Fly Rule. Most people don’t seem to understand any explanation of it; nevertheless, it works.
    The founding fathers didn’t want a pure democracy; they set up a constitutional republic. It’s been tinkered with a bit since then, but the Electoral College is one aspect probably best left alone.

  11. The beauty of Maine and Nebraska’s law is that it is possible for one candidate to get all of the state’s electoral votes, if he can get broad enough support across the state. Not so for that idiotic initiative they tried to pass in Colorado, which would have guaranteed that all but one EV was owned by one party or the other. Granted, some Congressional districts are like that, too, but at least not all of them are.

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