What if people like us could get elected? Ordinary New Yorkers should have a chance to run and win, not just those connected to the wealthy donor class. Reforms that provide public matching funds to amplify the role of ordinary Americans in financing elections have removed barriers, allowing candidates from different backgrounds to serve in elected office.
New York City’s campaign finance system is highly-regarded because the small-dollar public matching funds program helps candidates rely on New York City residents and not special interests to fund their campaigns. Still, Common Cause New York is working to support ways that strengthen and improve the campaign finance system.
Intro 1130-A is a proposal for the expansion of campaign finance reform in New York City by increasing the small matching grant from the current 55% to a full 100% match. It seeks to allow those running for office to rely exclusively on raising small donor matched funds, eliminating the “gap” between the amount of matched and matching funds and the expenditure limit which the system sets for the office the candidate is running for.
Its passage would be an important win for New York City as we are looked to as a model for campaign finance reform across the country. If enacted into law, we will send the message to the nation that we are committed to securing a place for People of Color, women, LGBTQ, working, and immigrant candidates on the ballot.
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 constantly 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.
A robust public campaign financing system cuts the corrupting influence of private campaign contributions out of our democracy.