We encourage all local organizations to consider working to pass resolutions in support of amending the constitution in their local communities. This is a great way to educate the public and to send a strong signal to legislators that people care about these issues. The ways in which you can pass a resolution will depend on the laws in the state and locality where you live.
City Council Resolutions
One option that is available in most places is to ask your city council, county commissioners, village board, or other governing body to pass a resolution. First, prepare the resolution you want passed (see our model resolution to get started). Map out the members of the council or board, identify likely allies and ask to meet with them.
At each meeting, explain how Corporate Personhood is a local issue that impacts the residents of your community. Show the elected official the resolution you have prepared, and ask for their support. If they are supportive, ask whether they are willing to introduce the resolution, and also ask for their advice about the rest of the Council (they may be able to help you find other supporters and provide you with other valuable insights).
Collect signatures from local residents in support of the resolution, or ask them to send postcards, letters and emails to their elected officials.
Be aware that your city council or board or other body can change the resolution you gave them to suit their own preferences, so it pays to be strategic from the outset to ensure that what is passed is what you want. Try to meet with every member of the council or board to explain the issues to them and answer their questions.
When the day for the vote arrives, pack the meeting room with your supporters to put pressure on the officials to adopt the resolution. It can be helpful to have "credible" figures, such as lawyers and professors, present to speak in support.
If the members of your council or board are unresponsive, don’t give up! Develop a strategy to sway them. Identify constituents or organizations that have influence over these officials, approach them and ask them to join your effort. If you feel that another nearby community might be easier to start with, consider teaming up with residents of that community to pass a resolution there first. Sometimes elected officials are scared to jump out in front of an issue, and it makes it easier if they’re not the only ones.
Ballot Initiative Resolution through City Council
Another option available in some places is to ask your council or board to place the resolution on the ballot to be voted on by the people, rather than passing it directly. Passing a resolution through initiative sends an even stronger signal to legislators that people want to amend the constitution and it is a fabulous way to reach many more of your city's residents. If you choose this option, make sure to plan ways to educate the public before the resolution appears on the ballot.
Ballot Initiative Resolution through Citizen Signature Gathering Process
Finally, the laws in some cities and states allow you to put a resolution onto your local, county or state ballot directly by collecting signatures from local residents. If this option is available to you, we strongly suggest you use it. One significant advantage is that this gives you the power to decide exactly what the final resolution will say. Also, gathering signatures is a great way to talk to (and educate) many local people, and to recruit new members to your organization. A signature campaign of any scale requires substantial organization and effort, but it can be well worth it.
Any resolution destined for the ballot should be kept short, because if it is too long the text appearing on the ballot may need to be a summary of the resolution, rather than the resolution itself. Brevity is even more important if you are gathering signatures to place your resolution on the ballot, because most people will want to read the resolution before signing. Check out our model resolution for ballot initiatives.
Links to Further Resources
The Initiative and Referendum Institute: http://www.iandrinstitute.org/
Local Government Offices Information: http://www.countyoffice.org/