On April 5, 2011, voters in Madison, Wisconsin overwhelmingly approved, by an 84 percent majority, a city referendum calling for amending the U.S. Constitution to establish that “only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights.” In Dane County, Wisconsin, which includes the city of Madison, 78 percent voted for a similar county referendum, rejecting the rationale underlying the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited, and secret, corporate campaign spending.
These votes are the first referendums anywhere in the country against Citizens United, and calling for a constitutional amendment that would void the decision.
The text of the City of Madison referendum reads:
RESOLVED, the City of Madison, Wisconsin, calls for reclaiming democracy from the corrupting effects of undue corporate influence by amending the United States Constitution to establish that:
1. Only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights, and
2. Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.