Lincoln County Commissioners decided Wednesday morning to go with the legal language written by County Counsel Wayne Belmont that will appear on the November ballot – an advisory issue that will ask Lincoln County voters if they support a U.S. Constitutional amendment that would ban corporate personhood and thereby what seems to be unlimited expenditures of funds on political elections. Occupy Newport spokespersons Stephan Farish and Rio Davidson, two local contractors, testified that the voices of the voters are currently being drowned out by hundreds of millions of dollars of corporate political ads, an act approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in the recent “Citizens United” issue in which the court, on a 5 to 4 vote, gave human personhood to corporations.
Davidson said that the preamble to the U.S. Constitutions states “We, the people…” not “We, the corporations…” Davidson says the advisory issue on the ballot will spark greater promotion of community dialog and debate on the Citizens United court case and whether an amendment to the Constitution is in order. By voting YES on the advisory question, a voter will be saying he/she urges Oregon’s memebers of Congress and the Congress as a whole to endorse an amendment striking down Citizens United and declaring corporations do not have the same status as a person. A NO vote would mean the voter thinks that corporations are people and can spend as much as they want for any cause or candidate on any ballot.
The exact language in the voters pamphlet and on the ballot is expected to be approved at the commission’s August 1st meeting.