A planned debate this evening on the National Popular Vote Compact and why it is a good or a bad thing has been canceled, but is to be rescheduled for later this summer or early fall.

The Grand Junction event was being sponsored by the Steamboat Institute, a right-leaning think tank, as one in a series of three debates on whether Colorado and other states should join the compact.

Although the Colorado Legislature has already approved doing so, there's an effort underway to place a measure on the 2020 ballot to reverse that decision. That effort has until Aug. 1 to turn in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

To date, the effort has about 175,000 names, said Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, one of the organizers behind the petition drive. It needs at least 124,632 signatures, but Pugliese said the effort is seeking about 200,000.

Currently, 48 states have a winner-take-all Electoral College system, meaning that all of their individual electoral votes go to the popular vote for president in their states. Only Nebraska and Maine have different systems.

Under the terms of the compact, going to a national popular vote wouldn't go into effect until the effort has 270 Electoral College votes. To date, 16 states and the District of Columbia have approved joining the compact, bringing its total to 196. All of those states are controlled by Democrats.

Under the Electoral College system, which was established in the U.S. Constitution in 1789, each state has votes based on the number of the members each have in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. For Colorado, that's nine.

While the U.S. Constitution allows states to determine how their Electoral College votes are used, opponents of the measure say it is unconstitutional.

Tonight's debate at Colorado Mesa University was to feature Trent England, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a right-leaning think tank, and Ted Trimpa, a Denver-based political consultant. Timpa had to back out Monday because of a family emergency.

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