(Gray News) – A coalition of states looking to circumvent the Electoral College by automatically awarding their presidential votes to the winner of the national popular vote could be growing soon.
Colorado and New Mexico are the latest states to advance legislation that would have them join a compact of 11 states plus Washington, D.C. that would pledge their electoral votes to the popular vote winner, regardless of who won their state.
The bill is designed only to go into effect if enough states have committed that they would control more than 50 percent of electoral college votes.
There are currently 172 electoral votes that belong to states in the compact, enough for 32 percent of the vote.
Colorado’s nine votes and New Mexico’s five would bring that number to 34.6 percent.
“This really isn’t a red versus blue idea,” Colorado State Sen. Mike Foote, who introduced the legislation there, said in a statement last week, according to The Hill. “This is about making sure that the president of the United States is elected by the entire nation, not just a handful of ‘battleground states’ that get to decide our presidential elections under the current system.”
Critics have countered that the legislation nullifies the will of a state’s citizens.
“This bill sets aside OUR state’s presidential election result and instead throws our electoral votes to the choice made by states with high concentrations of populations like California and New York,” the Colorado Libertarian Party said in a statement after last week’s vote.
The coalition of states that have already taken up similar legislation includes California and New York. Maryland was the first state to ratify the compact in 2007, and Illinois, New Jersey and Hawaii followed the next year.
Colorado has considered the proposal three times previously, most recently in 2009.
It could get over the hill this time with state government controlled by Democrats, who have been more supportive of the idea nationally.
Likewise, New Mexico has a newly-elected Democratic governor and a Democrat-controlled state Senate. Their bill has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee.
There are 10 other states where the compact has been introduced into the state legislature this year. If all enacted the law, it would bring the coalition within 1 percent of clearing the majority threshold.