Colorado May Abandon 'Winner Takes All' Elections

When it comes to the electoral vote, Colorado, like other states except Maine and Nebraska, has a winner-take-all policy. But a proposal to change that is on the ballot this fall. If it passes, it would affect the distribution of Colorado's electoral votes in the November election.

Election officials have announced that the November ballot will include a proposal to replace the state's winner-take-all system with one to divvy up its nine electoral votes in proportion to a candidate's popular vote. The plan would practically guarantee both President Bush and Democratic nominee John F. Kerry at least some of the state's electoral college votes.

If such a system had been in place during the 2000 election, Al Gore, who lost Colorado with 42 percent of the popular vote, would have received three of the eight electoral votes it then had. That would have given the former vice president -- who lost the electoral college, 271 to 266 -- one more electoral vote than Bush, 269 to 268.

Since George Bush is favored to win Colorado, it makes sense to vote for the change, so Kerry at least gets some votes. I think it's a fairer system. If Bush takes all the Colorado votes, it's like my vote didn't count. Under the new plan, my vote will morph into permanent Kerry electoral votes and increase his national total. It's a big difference.

Update: Dwight Meredith of Wampum thoughtfully analyzes the measure-- whether it would really apply this year, whether it would benefit Kerry and the effect on the election if other states had it.

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