If corporations are people, why don’t we let them vote in elections? Sadly, it’s not a tongue-in-cheek suggestion in my 5 Funny Ways to Contest Corporate Personhood article. As Raw Story reports, it’s actually a real bill that was proposed by Republican Montana legislator Steve Lavin.
Montana House Bill #486 stipulates that business owners or a designated employee would be able to vote in municipal elections in which commercial property was owned so that area businesses could protect their interests at the polls.
Fortunately, ThinkProgress reports that the bill was “tabled” pretty quickly after being introduced to a legislative committee, indicating that – while it’s not outright dead – it is not likely to become a law in Montana anytime soon. The site also notes that Lavin was formerly a member of ALEC, a closed-door organization that lobbied for corporate interests and encouraged voting suppression.
Montana has had a complicated relationship with corporate personhood as of late. After the Montana Supreme Court decided to limit corporate political contributions last year, the federal Supreme Court overturned the decision, citing its controversial previous Citizens United ruling.
On the other hand, Lavin’s proposed legislation could potentially help to minimize the impact of Citizens United. After all, we wouldn’t need to worry about corporate interests purchasing elections if we just let the businesses vote themselves. Maybe the corporations would even be willing to start voting on our behalves… for a modest convenience fee.
Joking aside, in a battle of the slippery slope arguments, I must admit I am way more petrified that corporations will take complete control of democracy than that gay marriage will lead to people marrying dogs or whatnot. Lavin’s proposal may be jumping the gun in an attempt to please his corporate overlords, but given the unprecedented influence corporate money is having on our elections, it is something to watch out for.
Meanwhile, if concerned Montana residents want advice on how to proceed in these matters, they ought not look to Barack Obama. Although the President has vocally opposed the influx of money in politics, as The Washington Free Beacon notes, his actions come in stark contrast to his words: Those who donate at least half a million dollars to Obama’s new Super-PAC-ish Organizing for Action group are promised to have at least four meetings with the President. Talk about paying for access to the most powerful man in the free world.