The effort to go to a national popular vote in electing future U.S. presidents has made some headway in recent weeks, albeit with one setback, though another could be headed its way from Colorado.
That's if a group is successful in getting a measure onto next year's ballot that calls for reversing a bill approved by the Colorado Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
That group, Coloradans Vote, now has more than 100,000 signatures to get a measure onto the November 2020 ballot to undo Senate Bill 42, said Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, who started that petition drive with Monument Mayor Don Wilson.
Pugliese said she's confident the effort will get enough signatures to get it onto the ballot.
"They tried this in Washington, and only got 300 signatures," Rose said. "We did that the first weekend in Grand Junction. Our momentum hasn't slowed since we started."
To qualify for the ballot, the petition needs at least 124,632 signatures of registered voters. Such petition drives, however, strive to get many more than that just in case some of the signatures aren't valid. As a result, Pugliese said the group is shooting for up to 200,000 signatures.
The group's website, Coloradansvote.org, lists several locations statewide where people can go to sign the petition, but it isn't stopping there, Pugliese said.
Later this month, there's a planned door-to-door event scheduled to help collect more, the details of which are still being worked out. The group has until Aug. 1 to turn in its signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.
Under the compact, going to a national popular vote in determining where a state's votes are cast in presidential contests wouldn't go into effect unless the effort has 270 of the 538 Electoral College votes, and then, only in those states that join it. That's the minimum number needed to become president.
To date, 14 states and the District of Columbia, have signed onto the compact, giving the effort 189 electoral votes. That count, however, doesn't include Oregon's seven electoral votes. That state's Legislature approved joining the compact on Wednesday and sent a bill to its governor, Kate Brown, a Democrat. It is unknown if she will sign it.
All of those states lean Democrat, but legislatures in some Republican-dominated states have considered it too, though none have yet joined.
A similar bill was sent to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak late last month, but that governor, also a Democrat, vetoed it, saying it would harm the state.
"The (compact) ... could leave a sparsely populated western state like Nevada with a greatly diminished voice in the outcome of national electoral contests," Sisolak said in his veto statement.
That veto shows that not all Democrats like the idea. While Colorado's bill cleared the Democratic-controlled Colorado Senate on a 19-16 party-line vote, six Democrats voted against it in the Colorado House, include Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango.
The folks behind the compact argue that voters in states that join would have a voice in those 270 electoral votes rather than just the ones in their own states.
They also say that all states in the compact would receive equal attention from presidential candidates, and not just those states deemed to be swing states.
"This is a constitutionally conservative way to ensure that every voter in every state is politically relevant in every presidential election while preserving the Electoral College," said John Koza, chairman of the compact.
Under the Electoral College system, which was established in the U.S. Constitution, each state has votes based on the number of U.S. Senators and U.S. House members they have. For Colorado, that's nine.
Currently, 48 states have winner-take-all systems, meaning that all of their Electoral College votes go to the winner of the popular vote for president in their states.
Only Nebraska and Maine have different systems. Those states allocate their two senatorial votes to the winner of statewide popular votes and one electoral vote to winners in each of their congressional districts, two in Maine and three in Nebraska.
Supporters of the compact say the U.S. Constitution allows states to determine their own methods for allocating their Electoral College votes. Opponents, however, claim the method called for under the compact is unconstitutional.