DENVER — Petitions for a referendum to repeal Colorado’s National Popular Vote law are now in the hands of the Secretary of State. The campaign Protect Colorado’s Vote submitted multiple boxes filled with petition packets that organizers say contain at least 227,198 signatures. State employees will now have 30 days to process the petitions and verify that the signatures are all valid.
“Our voters of Colorado understand what the Electoral College protects us from and they find it’s very important,” said Monument Mayor Don Wilson, a co-chair of the repeal campaign.
The Democratic controlled state legislature passed Senate Bill 19-042 February 21 on a strict party line vote. Six house democrats voted against the measure. The legislation commits Colorado to an interstate compact in which all Electoral College votes are pledged to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide rather than statewide. Fourteen other states plus the District of Columbia have signed onto the compact.
“The issue, I think, has really taken off because people’s votes are very personal to them and I think they felt like the legislature shouldn’t have given their votes away, the governor shouldn’t have given their votes away to places like California and New York without asking the people,” said Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, also a co-chair for the campaign.
State elections employees will spend the next day stamping each petition packet to prove that they’ve received the signatures on time. Every page will then be digitally scanned so that computer software can help with the validation process.
“We’ll pull five percent, a random sample, and verify whether they met the estimated threshold,” explained Hilary Rudy, Deputy Director of the Colorado State Elections Division.
The signature count from that sample will be multiplied by 20 to come up with an estimated signature count. If that number exceeds 137,095 signatures, or 110 percent of the threshold, then the question will automatically be deemed sufficient.
If it is below 112,169 signatures, or 90 percent of the threshold, then the question will automatically be deemed insufficient.
"If they get between 90 and 110 percent valid signatures, then will actually have to go through every single line,” Rudy said. “Luckily, we've got 30 days if we need to take that long to look at all of that."
The last time there was a citizens referendum to overturn a state law in Colorado happened in 1932 when voters rejected a new tax on Oleo margarine.