Amendment 65 gives our state a chance to set an example for the nation; it invites every voter to take a stand against the way big-spending corporations and millionaires have come to dominate our elections and it challenges our elected officials to rein in the influence of all that money.
The amendment does all that in a single sentence, and yet the Steamboat Today (“Our View: Vote no on Amendment 65,” Oct. 9) dismisses it as “toothless” and “misguided.” The editorial suggests that even if passed, the amendment would have “zero practical effect” because it cannot compel our members of Congress or the state Legislature to support and pass a constitutional amendment to impose sensible limits on political spending.
Coloradans shouldn’t accept such cynicism.
Common Cause, CoPIRG and the other organizations working on Amendment 65 think that a message sent by the voters, at the polls, will be uniquely powerful. Although the instructions contained in Amendment 65 aren’t legally binding on members of Congress or the state Legislature, we’re convinced these elected officials, who work to represent voters back home, won’t ignore the will of their constituents when it’s expressed at the ballot box.
Campaigns like this have worked before. Most of the delegates to the First Continental Congress operated under instructions from assemblies of voters in their counties, cities and towns; the 17th Amendment, which provides for direct election of U.S. senators, was adopted after voter instruction initiatives in several states convinced Congress it had strong public support.
Colorado is one of two states — Montana is the other — where measures like Amendment 65 are on the statewide ballot this fall. Similar voter initiatives are pending in places like Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and 72 Massachusetts cities and towns. In addition, the state legislatures in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Vermont, Maryland and Rhode Island already have passed resolutions calling on Congress to pass an amendment.
In short, Amendment 65 is part of a national movement to confront and control America’s runaway political money train. It’s a movement Coloradans can be proud to lead.
Executive director, Colorado Common Cause