LETTER: If Black votes matter, pass Proposition 113

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Editor: In this season of reckoning, communities have weighed in on critical issues from ensuring law enforcement accountability, to re-naming public monuments, to addressing the educational achievement gap in a medical pandemic. Racial equity in elections is also being examined; and there must be a reckoning here, too.

In many ways, Proposition 113, the Colorado referendum on the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, answers that call. A “yes” vote on Prop. 113 would give our state’s nine electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote if states representing at least 270 Electoral College votes adopt the compact. Voter approval of Prop. 113 would be a clear step toward election equity.

History reminds us of the beginnings of the Electoral College. It was designed to provide political advantage to White male propertied slaveholders in the antebellum South, by giving the representation due to enslaved people (at the dehumanizing rate of three-fifths of a person) to the very people who enslaved them. Then, as now, there are many reasons to dislike the Electoral College. It gives a few states all the campaign attention and power. Because of the current design of the Electoral College, states like Wyoming, Maine, Vermont and North Dakota hold considerable power to determine the outcome of presidential elections. States like Colorado, not so much.

This is a moment in time when many eligible voters doubt the process, and with good reason. They point to example after example — twice in the last 5 elections — where the candidate elected by the people did not get inaugurated into the office. They opt out of voting because they think their voices and their votes won’t — and don’t — matter. Perhaps they were told this by their own parents; perhaps they are also teaching this to their children. But it shows itself in feeble civic engagement and low voter turnout, typically in communities where strong political and election presence are needed most.

By voting “yes” on Proposition 113, and ending the inequities that lead to voter apathy, we can finally show that every vote matters.

— Rosemary Lytle, via [email protected]