Monday, November 12, 2012

Resolutions in favor of amending Constitution to ending corporate access to constitutional rights pass by wide margins on Election Day

America has declared loud and clear that it wants the Constitution amended. Every ballot resolution supporting amending the Constitution to end corporate access to constitutional rights passed, whether at the local, county, or state level, and in most cases at a rate above 70%. Voters in more than 150 cities, towns, counties and state weighed in, bringing us, by one count, 1/4 of the way toward amendment!

Some examples:
Both Colorado and Montana had statewide ballot measures on the ballot and while the language was different, both states approved their measures with at least 74% approval rates.  The Montana measure called for overturning Citizens United, abolition of corporate personhood and declared that money is property, not speech. (Demonstrating that you don't have to be a "liberal" to support ending corporate personhood, Montana voters also approved ballot measures which require parental notification to an abortion for a minor, deny certain government services to illegal immigrants and prohibit government from mandating the purchase of health insurance.)

Colorado's measure was narrower in scope. Amendment 65 called for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and to allow Congress and the states to limit campaign contributions and expenditures. It went on to instruct the Colorado legislature to approve such an amendment when Congress sends it to them. Pueblo County, Colorado, also had a resolution on the ballot declaring that artificial entities like corporations do not have constitutional rights, that money is not speech, and that limiting political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech. Despite the local paper editorializing against it, the resolution passed with 65% of the vote.

On the local level, a third of Massachusetts voters weighed in on a non-binding public policy question calling for amending the US Constitution to affirm that corporations do not have the constitutional rights of human beings and that Congress and the states have the right to limit political contributions and spending. The question passed with a 76% approval rate overall, including those towns carried by Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown. (AfD'ers were very active in this campaign through the North Bridge Alliance for Democracy chapter.)

In California, San Francisco voters approved Prop. G with 81% of the vote. In Richmond, voters approved Amend 2012 with 72% of the vote. Mendocino County, the first California county to place a Move to Amend citizen's initiative on the ballot, explicitly voted to "stand with the Move to Amend campaign" by a 73% margin. (Several Alliance for Democracy Mendocino Chapter members and supporters worked on this measure!)

Seventy-four percent of the voters in Chicago approved amending the US Constitution to Take Back Our Vote which called for allowing the federal government and the states to "regulate and limit political contributions from corporations."

Four ballot questions went to voters in Oregon. In Ashland, voters approved a measure stating: "Shall Ashland voters instruct Congress to amend U.S. Constitution to grant only natural persons constitutional rights and limit campaign spending?" It passed by 79.5%.

Corvallis voters approved a measure stating: "Shall the City urge elected representatives to support Constitutional Amendment denying artificial entities’ personhood and rejecting money as speech?" It passed by 75%.

Eugene voters approved a measure stating: "Shall Congress send to the States constitutional amendment reversing the negative impacts of the Citizens United case and limit independent campaign spending?" It passed by 73%.

Finally, Lincoln County voters approved a measure stating: "Should citizens urge Congress/Oregon Legislature to amend Constitution to clarify corporation/union political speech rights, allowing campaign finance regulation and limits?" This passed by 77%.

Read more:
Peter Schurman:  America on its way to overturning Citizens United
Move to Amend: Election Roundup
Reclaim Democracy: State Initiatives to Revoke Corporate Personhood and Overturn Buckley v Valeo Win Big  

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