Citizens United referendum to appear on Marshfield April ballot
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield may be joining a growing list of municipalities and states seeking a constitutional amendment on the Citizens United Supreme Court decision regarding campaign spending by organizations and corporations.
The Marshfield Common Council voted Dec. 12 to put a resolution on the April ballot, asking the city’s voters to decide whether Marshfield should add its name to the growing list of cities calling for the Citizens United ruling to be overturned.
A group called Marshfield United to Amend is seeking the referendum. Ben Dorshorst told the Council last night the group is concerned about the influence of money on elections and the political process.
“Our nation was founded on that we the people are to govern ourselves as a democratic republic; however, the Supreme Court has given constitutional rights meant only for individuals to artificial entities such as corporations, unions, nonprofits, and super PACS,” he said, “and this rule that money spent to influence political process cannot be limited. As a result, our government today serves powerful special interests, instead of the American people.
“We feel that these rulings, which have resulted in unlimited, and sometimes undisclosed, spending of money by outside and special interest groups distorts our political system by giving undue influence to those that have large amounts of money at their disposal and drowns out the voice of the average citizen.”
Dorshorst said the group circulated a petition in the city, and collected 1,266 signatures, more than the required 15 percent of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election. That is more than enough to force the city to put the matter to voters, or simply vote to pass the resolution.
“Across the country, more than 750 communities and 19 state legislatures have already called for such a constitutional amendment,” Dorshorst states. “Just in Wisconsin, 117 towns, cities, villages, or counties, representing 2.8 million people and 49 percent of Wisconsinites have passed a resolution like the one (before the Marshfield Common Council.)
“Our group feels that it is time that the city of Marshfield, Wisconsin should join this list.”
With the referendum approval, Dorshorst said his group would work with the city clerk’s office to fine tune the wording of the referendum question, which will appear on the April 3 ballot in the spring.
He also said the group would work to educate city residents on the issue.