The Move to Amend movement was proved to be strongly supported by the voters in the City of Whitewater and Fort Atkinson.
According to the Move to Amend website, Move to Amend has a purpose of rejecting “the U.S. Supreme Courts Citizens United ruling and other related cases, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”
The goal of the Move to Amend movement is to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision from 2010, which ruled that corporations have the same rights as individual citizens.
This gave corporations the right to give money to political campaigns with no legal spending limit.
James Hartwick, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and advocate for Move to Amend, said of corporate personhood and the ability of corporations to give freely to political campaigns, “Our system’s not broken, it’s fixed.”
Voters in the City of Whitewater supported the referendum with 1,013 votes and 1,312 supported it in Fort Atkinson. A total of 1,340 ballots were cast.
Supporters of the movement were pleasantly surprised at the results of the election.
Harwick said the election result showed, “strong bipartisan support to get big money out of elections and he is, “surprised and pleased by the outpouring of the average person saying enough is enough.”
“It just shows the overwhelming support that citizens have for a constitutional amendment to return control of the democracy to the citizens,” said Dan Fary, Town of Oakland, supporter and one of the organizers of the Rock River affiliate of Move to Amend.
However, this referendum is non-binding. The only purpose of the vote was to inform citizens and will have no legal effect in this election.
The exact wording of the referendum in both communities read: “Resolved, that ‘We the People’ of the City of Fort Atkinson (Whitewater), Wisconsin, seek to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contributions and spending. We stand with the Move to Amend campaign and communities across the country to support passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution stating: 1. Only human beings – not corporations, limited liability companies, unions, nonprofit organizations or similar associations and corporate entities – are endowed with 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.”
The April 2 election also elected:
- Pat Roggensack as State Supreme Court Justice
- Tony Evans as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Mark Gundrum as Court of Appeals Judge of Walworth County
- Paul Lundsten as Court of Appeals Judge of Jefferson County
- William F. Hue as Circuit Court Judge of Jefferson County