Montana Rep. Steve Lavin is taking Mitt Romney’s assertion that “Corporations are people” a bit too far. Lavin has proposed legislation that would allow a designated individual of a corporation owning land in a municipality to vote. This is part of the larger plan by Lavin to let property owners who aren’t residents to vote in that municipality.
[A]n individual who owns real property in a municipality holding an election on a referendum of the municipal governing body, a mill levy…or a bond issue…or an election for municipal officers may vote in the election if the individual is registered to vote as required by law in any county of the state and files with the election administrator at least 40 days prior to the election.
And if the property owner is a corporation, that doesn’t matter.
[I]f a firm, partnership, company, or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election.
Yet there is more. Non-resident individuals don’t just have the right to vote in places they don’t live, but also to serve as elected officials in Lavin’s bill.
A person is eligible for a municipal office, elective or appointive, if the person:
(1)(a) is a citizen of the United States; and
(2)(b) has met the qualifications prescribed by law or by ordinance adopted by the governing body of a city or town.
(2) A person who qualifies to vote in municipal elections as provided in [section 1 or 2] and who meets the requirements of subsections (1)(a) and (1)(b) of this section is eligible for a municipal office.
Unfortunately for corporations, they won’t be able to hold elective office because while they are people they are not citizens. Lavin is probably frustrated that he can’t fix that problem because he is a state elected official and only a member of Congress can propose legislation to broaden citizenship to include corporations.
Now we only need to wait for a compromise on legalizing undocumented immigrants in the United States. How about citizenship for both? With some of the farcical bills being proposed this year, it wouldn’t be a surprise.