By Peter Schurman
With victories on Nov. 6th in statewide votes in Montana and Colorado, both by nearly three-to-one margins, we’re now one quarter of the way to amending the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United.
This a huge milestone, one we could not have achieved without your help, along with the help of many friends and allied organizations, including Common Cause, which led the way on the Montana and Colorado victories with our support, as well as People for the American Way, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, Move to Amend, Ben & Jerry’s, RootsAction, the American Sustainable Business Council, Auburn Seminary, Avaaz, Credo, unPAC, and SignOn.org.
As you may recall, amending the constitution requires passage by two thirds of each chamber of Congress, and then ratification by three quarters of the states. Those thresholds equal 67 U.S. Senators, 290 U.S. Representatives, and ten states.
We’re one quarter of the way there in the Senate, with 24 returning U.S. Senators who have introduced or co-sponsored amendment bills. We’re also one quarter of the way there in the House, with 73 returning U.S. Representatives having introduced or co-sponsored amendments.1 And now, as of yesterday, eleven states have formally called for an amendment: Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont, Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Montana, and Colorado.
It’s especially exciting that Montana and Colorado acted through statewide votes of the people. They’re the first states to do so (the other nine states acted through their legislatures). The overwhelming margins of victory are worth celebrating too: although the last ballots are still being counted, the count so far in Montana stands at 74.9% to 25.1%; in Colorado the count so far is 73.8% to 26.2%
These victories also underscore the trans-partisan nature of our growing national movement: Montana’s a red state, and Colorado is a swing state. Polls show that support for an amendment transcends party lines: our own poll in 2010 showed that 68% of Republicans, 82% of independents, and 87% of Democrats support an amendment.2 An Associated Press poll this past September found that 81% of Republicans, 78% of independents, and 85% of Democrats want to limit corporate, union, and other outside spending on our elections.3
This trans-partisan support will be tremendously important for our continued success going forward.
Help us build on this momentum. Send a letter to the editor of your newspaper to get the word out about what we’re accomplishing together. Now, just after Americans everywhere have been barraged for months by negative campaign ads enabled by Citizens United, is a great time to highlight what we can do go fight back.
We’ve made it easy to put your letter together in just a few moments with our online tool. Click here to send a letter to the editor of your newspaper.
Peter Schurman is Campaign Director of Free Speech For People.org. Prior to joining Free Speech For People, Mr. Schurman was the founding Executive Director at MoveOn.org (2001-2005). Schurman’s undergraduate degree is in history from the University of Pennsylvania, and he also earned an MBA from Yale in 2000.