NH Rebellion launches 'We the People' campaign finance reform warrant articles, part of 'Long Walk' to NH Primary
With 80% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats supporting the overturning of the Supreme Court's Citizen United decision, campaign finance reform group NH Rebellion has launched a state-wide campaign to place warrant article resolutions on next spring's town meeting warrants around the state. The effort is a companion to the organization's "We the People" Pledge to Fight Big Money campaign launched in November, which will collect 10,000 signatures statewide and present them to Presidential candidates in February.
"Our legislators won't turn off the tsunami of money in Washington and New Hampshire because they are beholden to their big money donors. It's time for New Hampshire voters to take matters into their own hands," said Brian Beihl, deputy director of the NH Rebellion. "And it begins with ordinary citizens who stand outside for a few hours, talk to their fellow citizens, and collect signatures," he said.
The proposed "We the People Agenda" warrant article includes language covering six areas of campaign finance and anti-corruption reforms: Ban Super PACs and overturn Citizens United; expose secret donors and require full transparency; ban bribes from big-money lobbyists and government contractors; establish small-donor, citizen-funded elections; end gerrymandering and modernize voter registration; and close loopholes and enforce campaign finance laws. In addition to Congress, it also calls on the NH legislature to take create concrete steps to address these concerns in New Hampshire.
"Already, 69 towns have passed warrant article resolutions asking that Citizens United be overturned with a Constitutional amendment, yet the Legislative Administration Committee in the NH House wouldn't even pass a bill recognizing the need for an amendment and setting up a committee to make a recommendation. Voters need to send a strong message to their state and federal legislators that they must take action, because our voices are being drowned out by special interests and billionaires. Just look at the Northern Pass and Kinder Morgan projects to see Big Money politics in action," Beihl said.
In most town meeting municipalities, such "petitioned warrant articles" require a minimum of 25 signatures of valid, registered voters. NH Rebellion asks that 50 signatures be collected and provides instructions and forms on its website, NHRebellion.org/warrant_article.
Signatures need to be submitted by Christmas to town clerks in order to meet most January deadlines for petitioned warrant articles. Beihl said the goal is to have passed articles in over 100 towns this spring. Petition volunteers are still needed in the next two weeks throughout the state, and those interested should call 603-620-8300, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or see the website for information on how to help.
NH Rebellion is a project of Open Democracy, founded by New Hampshire's Doris "Granny D" Haddock, who walked across the United States at 89 years old to raise awareness of the need for campaign finance reform. The non-partisan organization is based in Manchester, NH and advocates for democracy and civic engagement. For more information on the warrant article, contact NHRebellion.org/warrant_article.