July 14, 2015

Move to Amend offers 11,100 signatures

On Monday morning, July 13th a group of Toledo volunteers turned in nearly twice the needed petition signatures to the Toledo Clerk of Council and Lucas County Board of Elections for a city ordinance to establish a Democracy Day and pressure elected officials to amend the U.S. constitution to end corporate personhood.

5,985 valid signatures are needed for the issue go on the ballot this November. The petition states that we, the voters of Toledo, support a movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to establish that corporations are not people and money is not speech and would establish yearly public hearings to discuss concerns over money in politics and corporate influence. The Board of Elections now has 10 days to determine the validity of these signatures.

"This petition drive and ballot initiative is part of a bigger movement to end corporate personhood and limit money in politics." stated Doug Jambard-¬Sweet. Coordinator of the project in Toledo.  "With the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizen's United 5 years ago, corporations now can give unlimited and  undisclosed contributions to political campaigns.  This has had the effect of flooding the political contests with PAC and super-PAC money." 

If approved by voters in November, Toledo becomes the largest City in the nation to pass such an initiative.  There are over 200 cities and communities in the U.S. that have already done so, only Madison Wisconsin comes close in size to Toledo. 

"Most people anxiously sign the petition once they understand the issue" said Dennis Slotnick, signature gatherer.   "That’s because it is intuitive to most people that corporations are not people and are offended at the idea that vast amounts of money is influencing political elections."  None of the signatures were paid for and it was entirely a volunteer effort.

Move to Amend is gaining national spotlight as two presidential candidates have come out supporting it, and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has spoken in favor of the Amendment. At the State level, Senator Michael Skindell has recently introduced legislation to the same effect and Toledo Senator Edna Brown has signed on as a supporter.

The petition, if validated, goes to City Council for approval or defer to voters in November.