Today, a landmark democracy initiative officially qualified for the November ballot, as the present Oakland City Councilmembers unanimously voted to place the Oakland Fair Elections Act initiative on this year’s local ballot, centering voters and communities in local elections.
“Fair Elections is the way to bring much-needed accountability to local government and make it possible for all Oaklanders to support candidates who will best represent them, no matter what neighborhood they live in, the color of their skin, or how much money they make. This year, Oakland has an opportunity to stand up to big money and special interests, building a local government that works for all of us,” says Jonathan Mehta Stein, Executive Director of California Common Cause.
The Oakland Fair Elections Act creates more transparency about who funds local elections, and equips every Oaklander with the resources to support community-based candidates and hold their elected leaders accountable. If passed, this measure will:
- Lower individual contribution limits (to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for committees).
- Require the top 3 highest contributors to be disclosed on independent expenditures supporting or opposing an Oakland candidate or measure.
- Ensure Oaklanders can view all independent expenditures in one easy-to-access online portal.
- Close the revolving door of top officials becoming lobbyists after leaving office, instituting a two-year ban on the practice.
- Implement the innovative Democracy Dollars program, which would equip all certified Oakland voters with four $25 certificates to contribute to campaigns of their choosing, encouraging candidates to engage ordinary voters for their support––including low-income communities who may not have been able to support campaigns in the past.
- Institute clear requirements and accountability checks on the Democracy Dollars program, which will be overseen by the community-led Public Ethics Commission.
The broad and diverse coalition supporting Oakland Fair Elections includes the ACLU of Northern California, California Common Cause, League of Women Voters Oakland, Oakland Rising, Bay Rising, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, MapLight, and more.
“Oaklanders deserve a local government where our representatives represent all of us — where candidates and elected officials can focus on what our communities need, not what big-money donors and special interests want. If we want to see change on issues like affordable housing, community safety, and quality schools, we need more transparency about the outside groups that are spending millions to influence our elections and we need a more responsive city government,” says liz suk, Executive Director, Oakland Rising.
The Fair Elections Oakland coalition looks forward to running a positive, robust campaign communicating with Oaklanders in the coming months. For more information about Fair Elections Oakland, visit https://fairelectionsoakland.org