With the signature of Governor Jared Polis, Colorado has joined the National Popular Vote compact, which would ensure that the candidate who received the most votes in all fifty states and the District of Columbia would become president.
Twelve other states have already ratified the plan, which will go into effect once states that comprise a total of 270 electoral votes have entered into the legally binding agreement. With Colorado’s approval, the states in the plan to date control 181 electoral votes, or 89 shy of the level needed for implementation. The pact has been recently approved by the Delaware and New Mexico legislatures and governors in those states are expected to sign it. Legislators in Maine, Nevada, will consider joining the plan this spring.
Enactment of the National Popular Vote pact, which could happen prior to the 2020 election, would shift power from so-called swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania and encourage candidates to also seek votes in traditionally "safe" states such as Kansas or Vermont. Every additional vote would count equally, no matter which state it was cast in.
Five out of the 45 presidential elections held since the creation of the Electoral College have been won by a candidate who lost the national popular vote due primarily to the “winner-take-all” rule, which was not in the Constitution but has evolved over time. Under winner-take-all, a candidate receives 100% of a state’s electoral votes even if they win just 51% of the vote in that state. The National Popular Vote compact would bind state electors to support whichever candidate received the most votes nationwide, thus guaranteeing that candidate at least 270 electoral votes and the White House.