The vast majority of us knows that money has too much influence in our politics and elections. That’s why California Common Cause has worked to build a democracy where everyone has an equal voice and equal say.
After years of advocacy, California Common Cause helped successfully strengthen the public matching funds program in Los Angeles city. In a huge leap forward, the Los Angeles city council voted to move to a Supermatch public financing program, going into effect in January 2019. The most significant improvement to the program is an increased match rate, up from as low as 1:1 to a 6:1 match for eligible candidates in both the primary and general elections.
The approved changes also include measures that will allow more candidates to be eligible for matching funds, including:
- Reducing the number of donations required for eligibility from 200 to 100
- Lowering the amount of each donation eligible for matching funds from $250 to $114 for Council candidates
- Requiring participation in a public debate for candidates to receive public matching funds
- Increasing the amount of funds available to candidates to $151,000 for the primary election and $189,000 for the general election
Beginning in September 2019, City Council candidates will also need to meet a lower aggregate qualifying threshold of $11,400, down from $25,000, in order to become eligible to receive matching funds. This important reform lowers the barriers that prevent grassroots candidates from running for office and makes the matching funds program more accessible than ever.
These enhancements to Los Angeles’ public financing program will help a wider range of candidates from all backgrounds and perspectives to receive matching funds and run campaigns for citywide and council offices. The changes will also incentivize candidates to communicate to a broader and diverse set of constituents rather than just the wealthy. Our new super match public financing program will pave the path for a city government that better reflects the diversity of Los Angeles and represents the needs of all Angelenos. By reducing the influence of private money in our elections system, more kinds of people from all walks of life and political perspectives can run for and win office.