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Citizens United, Afghanistan war, cuts to Social Security and job creation on the Nov. 6 ballot for Wellesley residents

Posted by Evan Allen  October 1, 2012 09:38 AM

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Voters in Wellesley will decide on four questions on the Nov. 6 ballot – including one of two precinct-specific non-binding public policy questions.

Residents will vote on either a resolution calling for the end of a controversial 2010 Supreme Court decision that gave corporations, unions and nonprofits the right to spend unlimited money in political campaigns, or a resolution calling on Congress and the President to prevent cuts to social programs, create jobs and end the war in Afghanistan.

The first three questions on the ballot – right to repair, death with dignity and medical marijuana – are the same three that Massachusetts voters all over the state will tackle.

But question four will depend on where in Wellesley voters live. There are two different questions for residents, both directing the State Senator from the district to address different issues.

Voters who live in precincts B, F and G will decide yes or no on this question, which deals with the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee:

Shall the state senator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. constitution affirming that (1) corporations are not entitled to the constitutional rights of human beings, and (2) both Congress and the states may place limits on political contributions and political spending?

Citizens United led to the growth of Super Political Action Committees, or Super PACs, which have poured huge amounts of money into the presidential campaign this year.

Many towns and cities, including nearby Needham, have passed resolutions calling for the overturning of Citizens United.

Voters who live in precincts A, C, D, E and H will decide this question:

Shall the state senator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon Congress and the President to: (1) prevent cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans benefits, or to housing, food and unemployment assistance; (2) create and protect jobs by investing in manufacturing, schools, housing, renewable energy, transportation and other public services; (3) provide new revenues for these purposes and to reduce the long-term federal deficit by closing corporate tax loopholes, ending offshore tax havens, and raising taxes on incomes over $250,000; and (4) redirect military spending to these domestic needs by reducing the military budget, ending the war in Afghanistan and bringing U.S. troops home safely now?

Wellesley Town Clerk Kathleen Nagle said that the questions are based on petitions conducted according to senatorial districts, not town districts, which is how residents ended up answering two.

The results, she said, are non-binding – “It’s an opinion question,” she said. “It tells the representatives how the district feels about a public policy question. Yes, we can express our opinion about these two questions, but they will have no practical effect but to be able to state the district’s opinion.”

Each question, she said, directs state representatives to tell the federal government what to do – and the state representatives don’t have that power.

“It’s a way of putting on record how the district feels about a particular issue, which is important to the public discussion,” she said.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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