Signature totals far exceed minimum required; petitioners call for referendums to be placed on next election ballot
Waukesha –Today, United Wisconsin and Move To Amend-Waukesha submitted 4,289 petition signatures calling on the City of Waukesha to place an advisory referendum on the April ballot asking voters if they support a constitutional amendment reversing the 2010 Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which gave corporations the power to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. Collected over a 60 day grassroots petition drive, the total signatures number amounted to 414 – or nearly 11% – more than the legal minimum requirement of 3,875.
“Our petition drive calling for the reversal of Citizens United was met with overwhelming support by the residents of Waukesha,” said Scott Trindl, organizer with Move To Amend – Waukesha. “We now call on the Waukesha Common Council to allow all the voters of Waukesha to be heard by placing our referendum on the April election ballot.”
The completion of this petition drives marks the latest Wisconsin municipality to take action either by petitioning or lobbying of local elected officials for passage of an advisory resolution addressing Citizens United and the corrupting effect of unlimited special interest spending in elections. To date, 23 Wisconsin counties and municipalities have taken similar action either by petition or passage of advisory resolutions. This summer, United Wisconsin and partners submitted petition signatures in the city of Wauwatosa, and villages of Shorewood and Whitefish Bay, all of who will hold local advisory referendums on Citizens United in April of 2014.
Over the past 3 years, 16 states and over 500 municipalities nationwide have gone on record in opposition to the Citizens United ruling and called for passage of a constitutional amendment to establish that only human beings are entitled to constitutional rights and that money in not equivalent to speech.
“The movement sweeping the nation to reverse Citizens United and to get big money out of politics transcends partisan divisions,” said United Wisconsin Political Director Erik Kirkstein. “Whether it’s traditionally more liberal cities like Madison or now the largest city in one of the most conservative counties in the state, when the people are given the chance to raise their voice, Wisconsinites overwhelmingly support getting big special interest money out of our elections.”
“The unlimited election spending by special interest groups brought on by Citizens United has given them a bullhorn that drowns out the voices of everyday citizens in our democracy,” Kirkstein continued. “It’s time the Wisconsin Legislature give all Wisconsin voters the opportunity to join this growing call for reform by passing Assembly Joint Resolution 50 and placing this issue to a statewide referendum.”
The full language of the proposed referendum follows:
Shall the City of Waukesha adopt the following resolution:
RESOLVED, the City of Waukehsa, Wisconsin, calls for reclaiming democracy from the corrupting effects of undue corporate influence by amending the United States Constitution to establish that:
1. Only human beings, not corporations, unions, nonprofit organizations nor similar associations are entitled to constitutional rights, and
2. Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we hereby instruct our state and federal representatives to enact resolutions and legislation to advance this effort.
United Wisconsin is an independent grassroots organization of citizens restoring the Wisconsin tradition of democracy in action. For more information, visit our website at www.unitedwisconsin.com.