An overwhelming amount of support was shown in Whitewater and Fort Atkinson for the national Move to Amend movement to reduce election spending by special interest groups. In Whitewater, 83 percent or 1,013 of the ballots were “yes” votes and in Fort Atkinson 76 percent or 1,312 of the ballots were “yes” votes.
“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 of the Town of Oakland, who helped organize the Rock River affiliate of Move to Amend.
In December, more than 775 signatures were certified in both Fort Atkinson and Whitewater to put the Move to Amend referendum on the April 2 ballot.
“I am surprised and pleased by the outpouring of the average person saying enough is enough,” said James Hartwick of Whitewater.
Move to Amend has six core values:
- Accountability and responsibility, both personally and organizationally
- Movement building
- Dedication to Move to Amend mission, goals and tactics
- Commitment to anti-oppression within ourselves, communities, work places, policies, and representation.
The referendum in both Whitewater and Fort Atkinson 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.”
Move to Amend is on a mission to establish that “money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations are persons entitled to constitutional rights.” In January of 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons and are entitled to buy campaigns.
Move to Amend responded to this decision by stating, “We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen’s United 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.”
Currently, there have been six Wisconsin counties and municipalities that have passed resolutions supporting this movement. These counties and municipalities include: Eau Claire County, West Allis, Madison, Dane County, Dunn County, and the Town of West Port.
Nationally, 11 state legislatures have approved the movement toward a constitutional amendment.
Stephen Justino of Colorado’s Move to Amend said in an interview, “Move to Amend is trying to provide people with the action step.”
As for Wisconsin, Fary said, “Our intent is to keep working until we have a State of Wisconsin resolution sent on to U.S. Congress.”