Fair Elections

Ordinary people across the country are fed up with our campaign finance system. Their voices are being drowned out by the unlimited spending of wealthy special interests. It shouldn’t be this way. The wealthy shouldn’t be the only ones who have a say in our democracy.

Common Cause Illinois is leading the fight to fix our campaign finance system in the city of Chicago. Back in February 2015, we sponsored an advisory ballot question that asked whether Chicago should establish a small-donor matching system for city elections. Four out of five Chicago voters supported that idea.

This overwhelming show of support led Common Cause Illinois to develop our Fair Elections Campaign. In January 2016, we formally introduced the Fair Elections Ordinance in the City Council thanks to the strong backing of our three aldermanic sponsors: Ald. John Arena, Ald. Michelle Harris, and Ald. Joe Moore.

The Fair Elections Ordinance is all about taking back our democracy. Small-dollar donations from ordinary Chicagoans would actually matter because they would be matched by money from a limited public fund. Corporate money would be banned, and there would be limits to how much one person could donate to a campaign.

Small-donor public financing is a well-tested idea; New York City and Los Angeles implemented small-donor public financing systems decades ago. Studies have shown that their systems increase donor diversity and participation. Bottom line: more people are active and have a greater voice in our democracy. All for a program that would cost less than 0.1% of the Chicago city budget.

To learn more about how the Fair Elections Ordinance would work, you can visit the website we built for the campaign with our coalition partner, Reclaim Chicago.

Latest Status

As they made their choices in the most expensive mayoral election in the city’s history, Chicagoans also pleaded for relief from big money’s dominance of local and state politics, Common Cause said tonight. With over 80 percent of...

Common Cause Hails Chicago Vote to Rein In Big Money in Politics
February 24, 2015

The need for Chicago’s Fair Elections ballot question was underscored today by a stunning new report detailing the outrageous number of large contributions coming from donors outside Chicago to the city’s mayoral candidates. ...

Why the Fair Elections Ballot Question?
February 17, 2015

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