For Immediate Release
Voters Reject Citizens United in Landslide Election Victories in Four States
National Coalition to Amend Constitution Praises Volunteer Efforts for 28th Amendment
WASHINGTON - In Tuesday’s elections, voters in California, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin approved nearly two dozen ballot initiatives calling for a 28th Amendment to reduce the amount of money in politics and empower ordinary voters over wealthy donors by wide margins. The victories for campaign finance reformers stands as a clear rejection to the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, which opened the door for unlimited political spending in elections.
In California, over 4.2 million voters (52%) approved Proposition 59 calling for the congressional delegation from the largest state in the country to propose and ratify a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and preceding court cases, allowing the full regulation of campaign spending and make clear corporations do not have the same constitutional rights as human beings.
In Washington state, voters passed Initiative 735 by a wide margin of 64%, becoming the 18th state to call for such an amendment. Over 1.2 million voters approved the measure, making Washington the 18th state calling for an amendment to make clear constitutional rights belong to individuals, not corporations, and that money is not constitutionally-protected free speech.
In Ohio, the voters in two cities approved local ballot resolutions calling for an end to corporate constitutional rights and money equals speech. Shakers Heights overwhelmingly passed Issue 95 by over 81%, while South Euclid approved Issue 102 by 77%.
In Wisconsin, volunteers passed measures in 18 communities, including many conservative towns. All referenda passed with overwhelming majorities: Rock County (86%), Reedsburg (86%), Manitowoc (81%), Delafield (79%), Neshkoro (88%), New Glarus (88%), Spring Valley (91%), Osceola (86%), Mt. Horeb (84%), Monticello (86%), Clayton (86%) and the towns of New Glarus (83%), Harris (65%), Springdale (86%), Decatur (89%), Mount Pleasant (84%), Cadiz (87%) and Lake Tomahawk (91%).
Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision to grant First Amendment rights for corporations and unions to make political expenditures as a form of protected speech, the amount of campaign spending in state and national elections has increased at an unprecedented rate. Move to Amend, the national campaign launched in the wake of Citizens United, praised the efforts of volunteers and organizers in California, Washington, Ohio, and Wisconsin in a public statement:
“These ballot initiatives represent the American people’s overwhelming rejection of the Supreme Court’s dangerous precedent they set in Citizens United and desire to end the court-created doctrines of money equals speech and corporate constitutional rights,” said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, National Director of Move to Amend. “Voters from across the political spectrum are disgusted with the obscene political domination by corporations and their wealthy owners, and they are demanding a genuine democracy accountable to We the People, not corporate interests.”
"Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, and Independents all share the sentiment that corporations should not have the same rights as people, and big money in politics should be removed," continued Sopoci-Belknap. "The time is now for Congress to pass the We the People Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and send it to the states for ratification. Our movement will only grow louder and bolder with each election cycle until the leadership of both parties take action."
Move to Amend is a rapidly growing national grassroots coalition of over 400,000 individuals and thousands of organizations working to pass a constitutional amendment to make clear that Constitutional rights belong to human beings and political spending is not protected speech under the First Amendment. Their “We The People Amendment” was introduced in the US House of Representatives on April 29, 2015 as House Joint Resolution 48 by Representative Richard Nolan (D-MN).
Over 600 communities have passed local resolutions and over 300 ballot measures in support of a 28th Amendment. In addition to Washington, seventeen states have made similar calls for a constitutional amendment including: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.
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