Cory Gardner: Colorado Democrats are attempting to subvert the Electoral College
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Our founding fathers created the Senate to make sure each state has equal representation in our national government. The Senate would act as a check on more populous states trying to impose their will on smaller, rural states. The fact that every state is equal is central to our republic.
The idea of giving each state a voice was not lost on our founding fathers when they created the Electoral College, either. The Electoral College is another unique system the founders created to take into account a state’s population but maintain each state’s unique, independent voice when electing the president. Our founding fathers did not get everything right, but their system did create a union where every single state is appropriately represented in Congress and in the manner in which we elect the president.
The bill to subvert the Electoral College that passed with only votes from one party is an affront to the very institutions of our democratic republic. This bill guts Colorado’s independent voice and will have a profound negative impact on Colorado’s influence going forward. Every Colorado lawmaker should work to advance our state’s influence and clout, not diminish it.
This strong, distinct voice is crucial to the election of the president and cannot be overlooked because of the passions of our times. When I hear people talking about abolishing the Senate or see my own state’s legislature pass a bill with the goal of abolishing the Electoral College, I cannot help but wonder why some would seek to quiet the voice of Coloradans.
I’m an optimist. I’ve always been an optimist, and I first got involved in politics to give the people in the rural part of Colorado where I come from a louder voice. But, now, I’m afraid all of Colorado could lose its voice.
The manner in which the bill would be implemented is also concerning. Our secretary of state has to wait to appoint electors until every other state election supervisor has declared the results in his or her own state. While the bill requires our secretary of state to “treat as conclusive” an “official” statement of the vote results from the other states, it is unclear how that would operate in the context of a court challenge to that “official” statement.
In my opinion, a bill that specifically instructs what is to happen should there be an exact numerical tie in the nationwide popular vote should also contemplate the possibility that lawsuits could cause questions about the results in a state like, say, Florida.
Nor is it clear that Coloradans really want to allow their electoral votes to be decided based on what they might see as objectionable voting practices or restrictions in other states. Colorado’s secretary of state should swiftly certify Colorado’s election results regardless of what other states are doing. Colorado has safe, secure elections, and our secretary of state should not be at the mercy of other states that use different election procedures.
California, Texas, Florida and New York are the four most populous states in our union. They are rightfully awarded more electors than a state like Colorado and have more say when it comes to electing the president. It wouldn’t make sense for Colorado to have the same number of electors as any of these states, but that does not mean it makes sense for Colorado to cede its influence and allow the population hubs of our country to choose the president. This would decimate smaller states and allow a presidential candidate to ignore parts of the country during an election.
This shouldn’t be about “red” or “blue” states. It should be about making sure every state has a voice. Colorado’s electoral votes should be cast for the person Coloradans choose and not be given to someone the state did not support.
Cory Gardner, a Republican, serves in the U.S. Senate representing Colorado.
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Just like you, I live with the fear of wildfire. My southern Oregon town of Ashland nestles against the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains, whose forests become tinder in our hot, dry summers.