Madison, WI (November 5, 2020) – In the November election, Wisconsin residents in two communities voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that only human beings should have inalienable human rights and money is not the same thing as free speech.
The referenda passed with overwhelming majorities in both Winnebago County (76%) and the town of Land O’ Lakes in Vilas County (84%).
That brings the total to 166 Wisconsin communities that have called for an amendment. In total, almost 3.2 million people (56% of Wisconsinites) live in these jurisdictions. Across the country, 20 state legislatures have voted for an amendment, as well as over 830 towns, villages, cities and counties.
“Over half of Wisconsinites have already called for an end to “corporate personhood” and seeing money as a form of speech.”, explained Oshkosh resident Cheryl Hansen. “It’s time that our state legislators follow the will of “we the people” and put the referendum on the state ballot. The millions of anonymous dollars spent during this election cycle continue to disenfranchise the average citizens’ voice in American governance.”
“The Citizen’s United decision has been a disaster since day one. We used to worry about old fashioned PACs!”, exclaimed Minocqua resident, Kay Hoff. “Even their voices are not heard since the explosion of Super PACs. The voice of the people will be gone until our Constitution is amended to correct this travesty.”
Resolutions calling for a statewide vote on Citizens United have been introduced into the state legislature (AJR 11 / SJR 9). The referendum would ask voters if they support allowing individuals and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns.
Numerous polls show that government corruption and money in politics is a top issue in America. Over 90% of Americans, regardless of party, think special interest money has too much influence in American political campaigns.
Jackie Cody, a resident in Rhinelander, explained that: “We need limits on how much money can be contributed and spent on political races. Only people have a constitutional right to free speech. Money is not ‘political speech’ under the First Amendment.”
Four in five Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, according to a Bloomberg poll. A New York Times/CBS poll found that 85 percent of Americans—including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—believe we need fundamental changes to our campaign finance system or to completely rebuild it.
Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”