Town meeting votes this week confirmed what many already knew: The people of New Hampshire want to free elections from the choke hold that corporations and mega-donors have on our democracy. So far, at 30 town meetings, citizens have passed – most by a vast majority – a warrant calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. More votes are coming; citizens in at least 19 towns vote on resolutions this week and results are still outstanding from towns that have held votes.
Given this clear indication of strong support by the people of New Hampshire, it is time for the state Legislature to follow their lead by passing similar legislation and make New Hampshire the 17th state to call for an 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 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.
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Below is an update from Jonah Minkoff-Zern on more towns joining the movement.
The final tally for the New Hampshire town meeting votes is 47 Passed 12 Defeated and 1 Tabled. Thus, they passed at a 4 to 1 margin. This includes one town council (Newmarket) that voted in favor a few weeks prior. (The complete list is at www.nh4democracy.org)
All the results are in for towns that we are aware of – though it is very possible that there were other votes, as we still learned for 2 more towns not on our initial list from word of mouth over the last week.
More towns will be voting at town meetings that occur later this spring – at least 5 (Chester, Hanover , New London , Peterborough and Sanbornton already have it on their ballot) but likely many more as petition gathering is still occurring, and cities – there also 13 cities that have city council votes that can still bring it to their city council: Berlin, Claremont, Concord, Dover, Franklin, Keene, Laconia, Lebanon, Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Rochester, Somersworth)
“The next step is for the New Hampshire Senate to pass SB 307 with amended language that calls for a constitutional amendment – the state legislature should follow the clear will of the people.”