Milwaukee County Voters Will See Referendum Related to Citizens United

May 12, 2014

The Nov. 4 advisory item will ask voters whether to amend the U.S. Constitution, declaring that only people, not corporations, have rights.

The County Board advanced the referendum 14-4 on Monday, overriding a veto by County Executive Chris Abele.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United gave corporations and other groups of individuals, such as labor unions, the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to try to influence elections.

Another statement the referendum will include is that money is not speech, and therefore regulating political spending is not the equivalent of limiting political speech.

Supporters of the ballot item insist the country must reverse the Supreme Court's decision, because big money in elections drown outs the voice of ordinary citizens.

Opponents claim that corporations are collections of people who have the right to speak jointly about political issues.

Voters in hundreds of communities across the country have cast ballots on the advisory item that will appear on Milwaukee County's ballot this fall.