From Massachusetts to Oregon, Colorado to Illinois and Wisconsin, and Ohio to California, citizens throughout the country voted overwhelmingly yesterday for their legislators to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and declare that only human beings – not corporations – are entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not speech and campaign spending can be regulated.
Residents in over 150 cities had the opportunity to vote on measures calling for an end to the doctrines of corporate constitutional rights and money as free speech, and in every single town the vote was supportive. Often by an overwhelming margin.
In Eau Claire, WI the vote was 71% in favor of a measure stating, "Should the US Constitution be amended to establish that regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting freedom of speech, by stating that only human beings, not corporations, unions, or PACs, are entitled to constitutional rights?"
In largely conservative Pueblo, Colorado, where the city newspaper came out against the measure, residents still voted 65% in favor of Move to Amend's resolution, placed on the ballot by County Commissioners. Move to Amend volunteers in Massachusetts collected signatures to place the constitutional amendment question before one third of the population of their state. The "MA Democracy Amendment Question" passed by 79%.
Voters in Mendocino County, CA where volunteers collected signatures to become 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 75% margin. Move to Amend resolutions also passed in several towns in Illinois and Ohio and Oregon, all by similar landslide margins.
Montana voters approved a state-wide resolution by 75%.
Another organization -- Common Cause -- put forward several measures calling for simply overturning Citizens United and granting Congress authority to regulate campaign spending. These measures also passed by a wide margin. In the state of Colorado, the Common Cause measure passed by 64% and in San Francisco approval was 80% and 72% in Richmond, CA. The group's measure in Chicago passed by 74%. Common Cause was also an active member of the MA Democracy Amendment Coalition.
Move to Amend's position is that the Constitutional amendment must go beyond simply overturning Citizens United, "There is no reason for us to shy away from a true and lasting solution, rather than just band-aids," stated Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, a member of the Move to Amend National Leadership Team. "In every single community where Americans have had the opportunity to call for a Constitutional amendment to outlaw corporate personhood, they have seized it and voted yes overwhelmingly. Tuesday's results show that the Movement to Amend has nearly universal approval. Americans are fed up with large corporations wielding undue influence over our elections and our legal system. Citizens United is not the cause, it is a symptom and Americans want to see that case overturned not by simply going back to the politics of 2009 before the case, but rather by removing big money and special interests from the process entirely."
Move to Amend is a national coalition of hundreds of organizations and nearly 250,000 people. The organization also boasts over 150 local affiliates across the country. The Resolve to Amend Campaign goal was to have 50 cities vote on the group's resolution.