Tuesday’s Biggest Winner is the Chicago Voter

Ballot Question on Campaign Finance Reform Wins By Almost 80%

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, almost 80 percent of the voters overwhelmingly passed Common Cause’s campaign finance referendum question.

“Special interests may think they can buy Chicago elections, but they could not stop Chicago voters from standing up for their democratic rights,” said Rey Lopez-Calderon, Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois. “This victory sends a powerful message to City Hall and Springfield that people will no longer stand for a corrupt system that only allows candidates backed by the ultra-rich to win elections.” 

Starting tomorrow, Common Cause Illinois will convene a task force of scholars, public officials and community leaders to finalize and introduce legislation to turn this voter mandate into law.  

The winning ballot question called for a campaign financing system that limits the corrupting influence of special interest money. It asked voters whether they wanted a system like that of NYC’s and LA’s that relies on small donors and a limited match of public funds, ensuring that elections more fairly represent the Chicago electorate. 

“Everyone knows that campaigns have become far too expensive, and a small donor-backed campaign finance system is an important way we will begin to change that,” continued Lopez-Calderon. “With this system, Chicago voters – not Super PACs and out-of-state donors – will decide who’s best to lead our city. The result will be better candidates and better government.” 

Common Cause Illinois and its partner organizations across the nation have been working on multiple fronts to stop the influence of big money in elections, including pressuring state and federal lawmakers to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Armed with mandate from voters, a team of scholars and public officials will immediately begin crafting legislation to implement the will of the people.  

In addition to successfully placing an advisory ballot question on the city’s ballot, Common Cause Illinois has garnered endorsements from all five mayoral candidates, several incumbent aldermen, and over a dozen organizations; launched the Fair Elections Illinois website; passed out post cards on “L” stops, passed out 20,000 door hangers with our partners at Reclaim Chicago, called thousands of people through multiple phone banks, robocalls; and passed out campaign literature at polling locations.

Thank you for your support of this campaign!