Marshfield residents petition against unlimited campaign spending

Published: Oct. 22, 2017 at 6:51 PM CDT
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Residents in the City of Marshfield are now petitioning to call for an amendment that would reel in unlimited campaign spending.

There are currently 19 states that call for the amendment, and more than 100 municipalities across Wisconsin are in support of becoming state number 20.

Despite the rain on Sunday, Brian Ewert and Ben Dorshorst spent part of the day gathering signatures for a movement called Marshfield United to Amend.

"The reason we're working on this issue is because we're worried about the issue of money in politics," Dorshorst said.

Dorshorst said the amendment would be aimed at groups like Super PACs that allow people to give unlimited amounts of money to candidates with little to no public disclosure.

Resident Mindy Gribble didn't know about the petition until Dorshorst and Brian Ewert showed up at her door Sunday afternoon, but after talking, she fully supports the idea.

"Anything we can do to make everybody's vote count as their vote," Gribble said.

It's an issue Dorshorst and Ewert say crosses party lines. In their group of 30 active people circulating the petition, Ewert said that people come from all different political affiliations.

"It's completely a non-partisan issue, it's an individual person issue saying I want to have equal voice to the people who represent all of us," Ewert said.

That doesn't mean the group hasn't faced opposition.

"There's a few people who are hesitant to have their name on a petition, and so they'd rather not sign at that level. I've had people tell me that they've never voted and they never plan to vote," Ewert said.

Dorshorst says many people they speak to are opposed to unlimited spending in campaigns. "In general, there's not many people that think it should be completely unlimited as it is now," he said.

The Wisconsin United to Amend movement isn't new. More than 100 municipalities have already called for the amendment.

For Ewert, his motivation for passing it in Marshfield goes back to the founding fathers.

"This is really just another part of that story of we the people endeavoring to make a more perfect union," said Ewert.

The petition process began on October 1. Marshfield United to Amend has 60 days from then to get around 1,100 signatures to have the petition reviewed by the city.