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Bedford residents won’t get to vote on Citizens United petition
The petitioned initiative will be on some town warrants in March, but will be delayed until next year in Bedford because of a time limit in posting a public hearing on the matter.
“Since that decision was made, it has made a dramatic effect on the nature of campaign spending, and the amount of money on campaign spending by the people and corporations who are able to affect elections,” said resident Jerry Hanauer, one of the petitioners.
“We felt that was almost hypercritical because here we are proposing a change in election behavior that would prevent business money from affecting the results of an election,” Hanauer said.
The initiative seeks a town vote on a nationwide, grassroots movement that calls on Congress to amend the Constitution to guarantee the right of elected representatives and the American people to safeguard fair elections by regulating political spending, and clarifies that constitutional rights were established for people, not corporations, labor unions and special interest groups.
“In 2014, there has been as much spent on the congressional midterm election (as) that in all of 2006, and we’re only in February,” he said.
“The negative effects we’ve seen in our society is the deterioration of civility in our political dialogue. It weakens the nature of the dialogue,” he said.
“We see the Supreme Court moving more and more in this direction, and the Citizens United case is just the beginning of a process. They took a very narrow judicial hearing and applied a broad brush of change, actually revising previous decisions that were only four years old,” said Jones.
The Town Council also had the option of not accepting the petition, which would have given the residents 30 days to garner 750 signatures, or 5 percent of voters in the previous regular election. The council would then be required to hold a special election, which can be held at town offices and hand counted instead of using ballot machines.
If the council had rejected the petition, it would have prevented the group from bringing it to the Town Council before next March, and it wouldn’t go on the ballot until the March 2016 election.
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