NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 23, 2004

Still stung by George Bush's victory over Al Gore in the Electoral College four years ago, Democrats in Colorado have found a way to give John Kerry at least four electoral votes even if he loses the state's popular vote. Had this new voting system been in place in 2000, it would have been just enough to push Gore over the top, says Bruce Bartlett.

  • The proposed Colorado system will be on the ballot for voter approval in November.
  • It would prorate all of the state's electoral votes on the basis of the popular vote.
  • In practice, this means that the loser will always get at least four of Colorado's nine electoral votes.

Although there are legitimate criticisms of the Electoral College, the Colorado effort is nothing but a transparently partisan effort to give Kerry a couple of extra electoral votes. If the election this year is as close as the polls suggest that it will be, it could mean the margin of victory, says Bartlett.

The potential closeness of the presidential vote in November raises another issue regarding the Electoral College, which is that the total number of electors is an even number, meaning that an equal split of 269 electoral votes for each candidate is possible. In that event, the House of Representatives would choose the president. A simple solution would be to increase the size of the House by one, creating an odd number of electors, says Bartlett.

Source: Bruce Bartlett, "Colorado's New System," National Center for Policy Analysis, August 23, 2004.


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