Giles Larsen is a member of Move to Amend Salt Lake. The group has spent the last couple of years garnering local support to bring this question to Salt Lake City voters.
“They’ve said almost unanimously, 88 percent that corporations are not people," Larsen says. "They should not be entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not the equivalent of speech and that it should be regulated.”
Move to Amend Salt Lake is a local effort, in a nationwide campaign to persuade Congress to overturn a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that the first amendment prohibits the restriction of corporate and union spending.
Larsen says the high court’s decision on Citizen’s United verses Federal Election Commission effectively outlaws any legislation that would limit corporate or union spending.
“So the only route available for us was a non-binding citizens’ initiative," Larsen says. "A resolution. It’s essentially just a statement of what people think.”
Some voters were put off by the election’s $98,000 price tag. Councilman Luke Garrott says in addition to cost, the council plans to look at a number of tweaks that can be made to clarify and simplify the process.
“This was an experiment," Garrott says. "We did the best we could. I’m proud about the successful parts of this. We know that it needs adjustment.”
Councilman Kyle LaMalfa says this accomplished the objective of giving Salt Lake City voters another way to voice their opinion.