An advisory measure aimed at ending corporate personhood appears to have been approved by Mendocino County voters.
The measure does not have the force of law but instructs local elected officials to pursue legislation to establish under law that only actual individuals have rights under the Constitution, and that corporations do not.
Late Tuesday night, the measure had 71.9 percent of the vote countywide.
Following the lead of a local group that gathered 5,661 signatures on a petition to put the advisory measure before voters, 5th District Supervisor Dan Hamburg promoted the measure, which was titled "An Advisory Measure to End Corporate Rule and Defend Democracy."
The measure is in direct response to the Supreme Court decision known as "Citizens United" which allowed unlimited amounts of campaign funding to be raised and spent by anonymous groups under the concept that money equals free speech under the First Amendment.
The measure urges state and federal representatives to push legislation that would establish that, according to language in the petition, "Only human beings, not corporations, are endowed with constitutional rights; money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech."
Local residents spoke up in favor of the ballot measure when Hamburg brought it to the supervisors.
"It seems that corporations have so much money, and their voice is so much louder than mine," said speaker Robin Sunbeam.
"We have no problem with corporations; they are an excellent way to organize money and accomplish important tasks like building roads and hospitals," said speaker Margaret Koster. "But corporations are created by the government, so they should be subject to regulations by the government."