Key Colorado House committee passes bill to decide presidential elections by popular vote, not Electoral college

A Colorado state house committee overwhelmingly voted this week to advance a bill that would award the state’s votes to whichever candidate wins the nationwide popular vote in a presidential election.

The State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee passed the measure along party lines in a 6-3 vote late Tuesday, sending the legislation to the state’s full House chamber, The Associated Press reports.

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Senate Bill 42, also known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, would require the state’s electors to the Electoral College to cast a vote for whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote instead of following the state’s results.

The bill has prompted fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers in the state who claim the legislation is unconstitutional and would subvert the Founding Fathers’ idea of an Electoral College. 

The bill, which was recently cleared by the state’s Democratic-controlled Senate, would allow Colorado to join 11 other states and the District of Columbia in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact — which was launched after Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery O'Rourke sees 'a lot of wisdom' in abolishing Electoral College Graham: Dems want to abolish Electoral College because they 'want rural America to go away' MORE lost the presidential election to George W. Bush in 2000 despite winning the popular vote.

But the legislation would only would only take effect if states can round up enough electoral votes to influence the Electoral College’s final vote tally.

The states involved in the pact only have 172 electoral votes at present, which is 98 votes short of the 270 votes needed to win the Electoral College.

State Rep. Jeni Arndt (D), who co-sponsored the bill along with state Rep. Emily Sirota (D) and state Sen. Mike Foote (D), told The Associated Press that the concept is “not new, and it hasn't always been partisan.”

"We actually see this as a constitutionally conservative approach," Sirota told the news agency. "This bill is about making sure every vote is equal and matters."

The bill is now headed to the Colorado State House for consideration.

If passed, the bill will head to the desk of Gov. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisColorado governor signs national popular vote bill into law Colorado congressional delegation, governor ask Pentagon for Space Command base Blue states band together looking to bypass Electoral College MORE (D), who also supports the measure.