Columbia, MD – On Tuesday night, Howard County voters approved a charter amendment to bring balance to our democracy and make local government more representative and accountable to everyday people. At 11pm, Question A had 52% of the vote...
The Montgomery County Council made history this fall when they passed a program for clean elections for county races. By unanimous vote the Council created the first small donor matching fund program since Citizens United, setting an important precedent for other Maryland localities, the state legislature and other states and localities.
This election proved the value of matching fund programs in creating more robust elections. In the Governor's race, Delegate Mizeur (D) qualified for public funds in the primary and Larry Hogan (R) used public funding for both his primary and general election campaigns. This bi-partisan use of public funding is bringing more candidates, perspectives, and issues to the election - which is exactly the goal public funding is supposed to achieve.
Unfortunately, after this election Maryland's Fair Campaign Financing Fund will be mostly bankrupt, as the funding source was eliminated in 2010. We must restore funding for this critical program - and extend the program to give state legislature candidates the opportunity to participate. Last year Delegate Luedtke introduced legislation to do just that, and we look forward to working with him on the leiglsation again in January.
Public funding works because it shifts the focus of the campaign away from big dollar, wealthy donors and back to everyday people. Investing in clean elections is an investment in our democracy. In states from Arizona to Connecticut, public funding has improved the election process. These programs allow more diverse candidates to run for office, increase competitiveness in the process, and result in a more substantive legislative debate.