Let's ensure 1 person = 1 vote

To the editor,

One person should always equal one vote. This is a foundational premise of our democracy. But women and communities of color understand better than most that our country has not always lived up to that idea.

This year is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. It took 72 years of organizing, demonstrating, petitioning and campaigning for women to finally secure their right to vote in 1920. Now, in 2020, it seems obvious that women should have the right to vote. Indeed, most Americans could not envision our electoral system any other way at this point.

We hope it will take much less than 72 years for the nation to recognize that every voter should be equal in presidential elections, too. The National Popular Vote interstate agreement is a way to make sure that every voter matters and every vote for president is equal. This legislation passed in its first state in 2006, then in Colorado in 2019. On our 2020 ballot this fall, every Colorado voter will get a chance to approve Colorado’s membership in the National Popular Vote compact. The La Plata County League of Women Voters encourages everyone to vote “Yes” on Proposition 113.

Our president governs the entire country and should hear the voices of voters across the entire country. Under our current system, presidential candidates can focus on just a few competitive states in order to win. If Colorado is not deemed a swing state, the presidential candidates can practically ignore our concerns.

Under the current Electoral College system, the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes throughout the country does not necessarily win the election. We all remember that happened in 2000 and 2016, but many people don’t realize it also happened with three Presidents before 2000. The presidential election is the only one in the country where the second-place vote recipient can actually win.

Prop 113 would change that. It keeps the Electoral College system in place but reforms how the states choose their electors under the authority granted to the states in the U.S. Constitution. Each elector from Colorado and the other member states votes for the presidential candidate who earns the most votes nationwide. That candidate then wins the election. It really is that simple.

Colorado is currently one of 15 states, plus Washington D.C., that has joined the National Popular Vote. Once enough states sign on, it will change the way presidential candidates campaign. Instead of just focusing on competitive “swing” states, candidates will have to consider the issues that matter to rural, suburban and urban communities throughout the country.

The National Popular Vote will also ensure that one person truly equals one vote no matter where that person lives or who that person supports. A voter who prefers the Republican candidate in a blue state like Colorado will matter, just like a voter who prefers the Democratic candidate in a red state like Mississippi. When every vote truly matters, we will see higher voter turnout and more legitimacy to whoever wins the election.

The League of Women Voters has supported the idea of a direct presidential election since 1970 and the National Popular Vote agreement since 2006. We encourage all Coloradans to do the same and vote yes on Prop. 113.

– Jean Aaro, president, League of Women Voters of La Plata County