We’re returning political power back to the people of Maryland.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s dangerous and disastrous decisions in Citizens’ United and McCutcheon, it is clear that we must do more to strengthen the voice of citizens against the growing influence of special interest money. There is tremendous excitement building for citizen-funded elections at the local, state, and federal levels and Maryland is a leader in advancing these small donor funded election programs.
Citizen-funded elections helps break down barriers to participating in our democracy, creating a government that looks more like us and works better for us. What if people like us could get elected? Regular people—and not just those connected to the wealthy donor class—would have a chance to run and win. Reforms that provide public matching funds to amplify the role of ordinary Americans in financing elections, like the Montgomery County Public Election Fund and Howard County Citizens’ Election Fund, have removed barriers for candidates from different backgrounds to run. Citizen-funded election systems mean:
- More ordinary people are able to run for public office;
- Candidates spend more time listening to and meeting with their constituents, instead of consistently focusing on raising big money from just a handful of donors;
- Elected officeholders are reflective of the community at large and share similar values and experiences with everyday voters;
- Elected officials are less indebted to a narrow set of big money funders, and are more accountable to all voters;
Policies and laws are more responsive to public needs and less skewed by wealthy special interests.
In 2014, Montgomery County became the first county in the state to establish a small donor matching program for county council and executive elections.
In the summer of 2017, the Howard County Council established a similar small donor program that candidates can utilize for the 2022 election and we’re now working to establish a program in Prince George’s County.
At the gubernatorial level, both Governor Hogan and Democratic candidate Mizeur, outsiders to the political establishment, used a similar public funding program, the Fair Campaign Finance Fund (FCFF), for their campaigns in 2014.
Common Cause Maryland is part of the Fair Elections Maryland, coalition founded to establish small donor campaign finance programs for local and state elections in Maryland. To learn more about these programs and join in our efforts, visit fairelectionsmaryland.org.