March 18, 2014
Final Tally: 47 New Hampshire Towns Call for a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United
Statement of Jonah Minkoff-Zern, Senior Organizer, Public Citizen’s Democracy Is For People Campaign
The final tally of the town meeting votes last week is irrefutable evidence that New Hampshire residents want to free elections from corporate influence and mega-donors. At 47 town meetings, citizens overwhelmingly passed warrants calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. With 59 towns voting, this shows there was a 4-to-1 margin of towns that approved the initiative versus those that defeated it. At least five towns have a similar warrant on their ballots to be voted on in the spring.
Now that the people of New Hampshire have spoken, it is important that the state Senate move forward next week, when it votes on SB 307. That bill would create a committee to examine Citizens United and different approaches to a constitutional amendment. The Senate should pass a version that includes language calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. That ruling gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, thereby drowning out the voices of everyday Americans. The influence of corporations and the wealthy was starkly apparent during New Hampshire’s 2012 gubernatorial race, when outside groups spent $19 million – almost five times what the candidates spent themselves.
Polls show the call to overturn Citizens United is popular among a wide swath of New Hampshire residents, no matter their political party. Seventy-two percent of residents have said they oppose the Citizens United ruling, and 69 percent would support a constitutional amendment that limits corporate campaign contributions and spending, according to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite State Poll. Additionally, more than 100 New Hampshire residents recently marched across the state in the dead of winter to show their support for campaign finance reform.
With the voting results, the polls and grassroots organizing, it is crystal clear that the residents of New Hampshire want to join the nationwide movement and become the 17th state to call for a constitutional amendment to stop the flood of money from corporations and the ultra-wealthy into our elections.
For more information about this effort and to find out how towns voted, visit www.nh4democracy.org.