Pro-Democracy Referendums Pass in Wisconsin, Elsewhere

November 8, 2018

On Nov. 6, voters in Wisconsin and around the country demonstrated that they want more democracy.

Here in Wisconsin, voters in nine communities said, by overwhelming margins, that they’d like to see the U.S. Constitution amended to finally declare that corporations are not persons and money is not speech:

Jackson County (69%)

Kickapoo (85%)

Readstown (91%)

Rib Mountain (78%)

Vermont (86%)

Sauk County (72%)

Westfield (87%)

Weston (83%)

Wood County (80%)

That makes 142 communities to sign on to overturning Citizens United and other court decisions that have let corporations and big and dark money drown out our voices.

Also in Wisconsin, voters in four counties overwhelmingly came out in favor of a referendum to ban gerrymandering in Wisconsin:

Eau Claire (74%)

Lincoln (65%)

Sauk (72%)

Winnebago (69%)

Previously, 41 county boards in Wisconsin had also passed resolutions calling on the state legislature to ban gerrymandering and adopt independent, nonpartisan redistricting.

Across the country, other notable successes in the pro-democracy movement have been helpfully compiled by Common Cause:

Voting Rights


  • MICHIGAN: Voters back a constitutional amendment to create a nonpartisan, independent redistricting commission.
  • COLORADO:  Voters pass two measures to create an independent redistricting commissions to draw state legislative and congressional maps. 
  • MISSOURI:  The Clean Missouri initiative passes that requires a fairer redistricting process so that no one political party will have an advantage in drawing state legislative maps.
  • UTAH:  The Better Boundaries initiative passes that creates an impartial commission to draw voting maps and sets important standards to stop gerrymandering.
  • CALIFORNIA:  Local measures that set up independent redistricting commissions for municipal voting maps passed in Santa Barbara County and Long Beach. 

Ethics & Campaign Finance

  • PUBLIC FINANCING:  Local small donor campaign public financing programs passed in Denver and Baltimore, while New York City voted to strengthened their existing successful program. 
  • NEW MEXICO:  Voters  approve a constitutional amendment to create an independent ethics commission.
  • MISSOURI:  The sweeping  Clean Missouri initiative mentioned above passed that includes provisions on transparency, campaign finance, ethics, and redistricting.
  • NORTH DAKOTA:  Voters approve an initiative to create an independent ethics commission, ban foreign money in North Dakota elections, ban lobbyists gifts to public officials, and increase transparency in state government.
  • FLORIDA:  Voters approved a constitutional amendment that creates new, important ethics rules for Florida’s elected and government officials and makes strong improvements to Florida’s lobbying rules.
  • LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA:  A local initiative to create a municipal ethics commission passed. 
  • DARK MONEY:  Phoenix, AZ voters  approved a dark money disclosure ordinance.
  • OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED: A measure calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United passed statewide in Massachusetts.