U.S. Constitutional Amendment Question Advances to Voters

Photograph courtesy of Sandown Public Access Television.

An amended petition article will go before town voters in Sandown, N.H. at an upcoming town meeting and election, calling upon its congressional delegation to enact a constitutional amendment to regulate spending on state elections by out of state groups.

At a deliberative session of Sandown town meeting Saturday, attending voters and selectmen unanimously passed an amendment to delete a paragraph in warrant article 17, to require the town notify legislators of the outcome by local voters, according to Lynne Blaisdell, Sandown Town Administrator.

Blaisdell told WHAV the move would leave such notification in the hands of the petitioner.

Sandown resident Craig Buffinton, lead petitioner for article 17, said the 2014 Senate race for N.H. was the tenth most expensive in the U.S., coming in at nearly $26 million. He suggested much of that came from outside Political Action Committees (PACs).

“In the 2012 N.H. gubernatorial election, outside groups spent five times what the candidates spent on their contests. So it wasn’t just that one race. I think it’s important to allow limitations," Buffinton said.

Buffinton also said opinion polls, as well as 56 other N.H. communities including local towns, support similar measures after the N.H. Senate removed language for a constitutional amendment on a campaign spending resolution passed by the N.H. House last year.

“Sixteen states and about 500 communities have supported similar requests, similar warrant articles passed in nearby towns, Kingston, Danville, Hampstead, Atkinson. So Sandown can join Hampshire can become the 17th state calling for a constitutional amendment,” Buffinton said. Massachusetts is one of the states previously approving the amendment resolution.

According to Buffinton, the measure does not call for a constitutional convention, or congressional hearing, which requires action by 34 states.