Group’s push for constitutional amendment to kick off in Port Townsend this Thursday

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County volunteers will kick off a drive for signatures for Initiative 735 at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The gathering will be at the Port Townsend Community Center, 620 Tyler St.

“Initiative 735 calls for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reduce the influence of money on campaigns and elections and states that constitutional rights belong only to individuals,” said Dianne Diamond of the Jefferson County affiliate of the Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution, known as WAmend.

If the required 350,000 valid signatures are obtained statewide within the next eight months, the initiative will appear on the November 2016 state ballot.

The kickoff is for those interested in learning more about the initiative or volunteering to gather signatures.

Campaign director Gabe Meyer and state field organizer Tiffani McCoy will lay out the statewide strategy.

Petitions, petition boards, voter registration forms, literature and a short training session will be offered.

The Clallam County affiliate of WAmend held its kickoff April 11.

The initiative campaign is spearheaded by the Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution, a statewide coalition of more than 20 organizations.

The petition says that measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and constitutionally protected free speech excludes the spending of money.

It is intended to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which ruled that political spending is protected under the First Amendment and allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities, as long as it was done independently of a party or candidate.

The Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution sponsored I-1329 last year but failed to get the required number of signatures.

This time, the effort is better-funded, has a full-time professional staff and is starting earlier, Diamond said.

For more information, see www.WAmend.org.

To connect with the Jefferson County affiliate, contact Diamond at 360-385-2341.

Those interested in volunteering in Clallam County can email Andrea Radich at [email protected]

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