Citizens United referendum to appear on Wood County ballot
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – Wood County may be joining a growing list of local government entities seeking a constitutional amendment on the Citizens United Supreme Court decision regarding campaign spending by organizations and corporations.
The Wood County Board of Supervisors voted June 19 to place a non-binding referendum on the Nov. 2018 ballot to determine if voters support an amendment to the Constitution to allow financial limits on political campaign contributions
“Through a series of Supreme Court decisions we’ve arrived at a situation where it is possible for special interests groups to spend unlimited, and sometimes undisclosed, amounts of money on our political system, most notably through Super PACs,” said Ben Dorshorst, Marshfield. “We feel that this dilutes the voice of the average citizen and causes politicians to listen more to wealthy donors than the constituents they were elected to represent. It also results in outside minds having greater influence over our state and federal representatives, eroding local control over local issues.”
Dorshorst said the national movement has already received support from 130 Wisconsin communities, including the city of Marshfield which passed the referendum with over 80 percent of voters supporting it.
A resolution to place the matter on the ballot was brought forth by the Judicial & Legislative Committee.
Supervisor Donna Rozar said that she would be voting against the resolution, stating that she needed a better look at the “big picture.”
“There is always more under the surface to these kinds of things,” she said, “and I personally have not researched the implications of this resolution.”
“The question here is one of philosophy more than it is politics, and I think that when it comes to a matter of philosophy we have to allow the public to decide how they feel about issues like this,” stated Supervisor Mark Holbrook.
“I think that the overwhelming feeling that I have about a resolution like this is it is time to hear from the people, because it is their constitution and they have a right to make a statement about an issue like this.”
A 16-3 vote passed the resolution, with Supervisors Robert Ashbeck, Lance Pliml, and Donna Rozar voting against it.