November 6, 2012 was the first presidential election since the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court in 2010. Consequentially, the 2012 election was more expensive than any other election in our history by more than $700 million.
In an apparent reaction to the ruling, some states voted on limiting or eliminating corporate contributions to elections. Voters in Montana and Colorado approved laws that would prohibit or eliminate corporate contributions and expenditures in both state and national elections. They also sought to charge state lawmakers with asking congressional delegates to overrule Citizens United by amending the U.S. Constitution.
Amendment 2 in Minnesota was an extremely important measure for the future of the state’s elections. Amendment 2 would have imposed a strict photo ID requirement at the polls, and although support for the amendment was strong over the summer, it ultimately failed by a few points. This show of support for voters’ rights at the polls followed on the heels of Maine voters restoring Election Day Registration in November 2011 after the legislature eliminated it earlier that summer. It seems that given the chance, voters are willing to make changes to election policy and ensure access to the polls.
This post was written by Nonprofit VOTE Intern Lauren Dobbs. Lauren graduated from Boston University with a BA in International Relations in 2011 and will be attending graduate school next fall to obtain an MSc in Development Studies.