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Naperville Township meeting to focus on political contributions

If you go

What: Special meeting for Naperville Township voters

When: 6 p.m. Aug. 8

Where: 139 Water St., Naperville

Why: To consider adding a non-binding question to the November ballot assessing support for a Constitutional amendment stipulating that the rights in the Constitution apply only to individuals

Updated: November 30, 2012 10:56AM

Naperville Township will be the next area governing body to gauge what its voters have to say about the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

The 2010 ruling held that under provisions of the First Amendment, the federal government cannot restrict independent political contributions by corporations and unions. Opponents say the move enables wealthy individuals and groups to exercise undue influence over elections.

The decision effectively “gave the same Constitutional rights to legal entities such as corporations, associations and unions that were originally intended only for human beings,” wrote a coalition of local groups that petitioned Naperville Township Clerk Carol Bertulis last month to schedule a special meeting to consider putting an advisory referendum question to the voters in November.

If it appears on the local ballot in Naperville Township, which covers Aurora’s far East Side, the question formulated by Move to Amend will read, “Should the United States Constitution be amended to clearly state that only individual persons, and not corporations, associations, or any other organizational entities, are entitled to the rights enumerated in the Constitution?”

Bertulis said a meeting on the referendum has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 8 at the township offices, 139 Water St., Naperville. Participants can begin signing in at 5:30 p.m. to confirm they are registered to vote in the township.

The meeting is one of assorted steps taken by government bodies to address the issue in recent months. Lisle Township, which includes a portion of Naperville, made plans to add the query to its ballot after the matter went up for a vote at its annual meeting in mid-April.

The city of Chicago also will have the question on its fall ballot. The Chicago City Council last week unanimously passed the Move to Amend Resolution, a government-level statement of support for the amendment. More than 280 other cities and six state legislatures have passed the resolution as well.

The matter is less cut-and-dried in Wayne Township, near Wayne and St. Charles. There, Move to Amend supporters say they are considering legal remedies after their request for a special meeting was turned down.

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