Kay Heinschel sits in the back of a pickup truck

Kay Heinschel sits in the back of a pickup truck with two signs while Dennis Mitchell stands beside the truck in May 2019 at the corner of Townsend Avenue and Main Street in downtown Montrose. They were there to protest the National Popular Vote bill signed by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in March and to gather signatures to have a rollback measure put on the 2020 ballot.

Organizers aiming to repeal Colorado’s part in the National Popular Vote movement say they’ve gathered enough signatures for a 2020 ballot measure that, if passed, would repeal the bill Gov. Jared Polis signed into law in March.

Rose Pugliese, a Mesa County commissioner and proponent of Coloradans Vote (the organization looking to roll back the law), said the group has collected more than 185,000 signatures statewide, needing just 124,632 valid signatures to get on the ballot. The group’s goal is 200,000 signatures, which would act as a buffer in case signatures are duplicated or invalidated for other reasons. The group has until Aug. 1 to gather more.

“It’s been an incredible grassroots movement,” Pugliese said Wednesday.

She said more than 2,100 volunteers have helped carry petitions across the state.

Coloradans Vote didn’t have county-by-county numbers of signatures, so Pugliese couldn’t say how many have been gathered in Montrose County

Sylvia Bernstein, co-chair for Coloradans for the National Popular Vote, said Wednesday she’s disappointed the petitioning has gotten this far but believes Coloradans would keep the law intact if they saw it on the ballot in 2020.

“It’s unfortunate. This is the first state that it’s happened,” she said. “That said, we are confident Coloradans want every person in this state (to have their vote count).”

A survey of 500 likely voters conducted by Magellan Strategies showed Coloradans are split on the issue, 34 percent in favor of the National Popular Vote law and 39 percent having an unfavorable opinion. Twenty-seven percent had no opinion.

If put into effect, the law would tie Colorado’s nine electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. The law would only go into effect if enough states signed on to commit 270 electoral votes — the amount necessary to win the presidency — to the winner of the national popular vote, essentially making the winner of the popular vote the winner of the White House.

So far, 16 jurisdictions — 14 states and Washington, D.C. — have enacted the National Popular Vote bill into law. Together, they possess 196 electoral votes, still 74 short.

Colorado was one of three to join the interstate compact this year. New Mexico’s and Oregon’s governors signed similar bills into law recently. Nevada’s senate passed a bill this year, but the governor vetoed it.

Seven other states, like Nevada, have seen bills pass at least one legislative chamber but failed to enact them into law.

Justin Tubbs is the managing editor of the Montrose Daily Press.

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