Albuquerque Voters Approve Clean Elections System

Albuquerque Voters Approve Clean Elections System

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Yesterday, by a vote of 69 percent to 31 percent Albuquerque voters passed the Open and Ethical Elections Code Referendum, making it the first city in the country to pass a clean elections measure by popular referendum. The measure provides public funding to qualifying candidates that agree not to accept contributions from individuals or from special interests.

For over twenty years, Albuquerque had mandatory limits on campaign spending for mayoral and council races, until those limits were struck down prior to the 2001 election. With campaign spending skyrocketing out of control during the 2001 and 2005 citywide races in Albuquerque, Common Cause New Mexico led a coalition of fifteen organizations in advocating for the passage of the Open and Ethical Elections Code.

“This is a great victory for the people of Albuquerque. They were fed up with big money controlling their local elections and they said enough is enough,” said Matt Brix, Common Cause New Mexico Executive Director and chairperson of Albuquerque Clean Elections. The voters want elections that level the playing field so that qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds can run for office, and elections where the candidates ideas are more important than the size of their bank account,” said Brix.

Beginning in 2007, council and mayoral candidates will have the option of accepting public financing for their campaigns if they gather a required amount of low dollar qualifying contributions. The Open and Ethical Elections Code will limit campaign spending and level the playing field so that qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds can run for office. Common Cause and other clean elections advocates in New Mexico point out that one-third of the state’s population live in the Albuquerque metropolitan area and that this victory will boost similar efforts at the state level. They also note that public financing systems like the Open and Ethical Elections Code have proven to be successful in Maine and Arizona.