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. And regular people — not just the wealthy — would fund campaigns.
Citizen funded elections help break down barriers to participating in our democracy, creating a government that looks like us and works for us. Reforms that provide public matching funds to amplify the role of ordinary Americans in financing elections have made it possible for more women, people of color, and those of modest means to run and get elected to public office. And a new type of citizen funded elections — providing regular people with campaign funding vouchers — has taken root in Seattle and is being explored elsewhere. Citizen funded election systems mean:
- Ordinary people are able to run for and win public office
- Ordinary people fund campaigns, so they can hold public officials accountable
- 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 donors, and are more accountable to all voters
- Policies and laws are more responsive to public needs and less skewed by wealthy special interests
Over the years, Common Cause has led and supported several successful campaigns at the state and local levels to pass and improve citizen funded election programs, including in Connecticut; Arizona; Maine; New York City, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Montgomery County, MD; Howard County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; Baltimore, MD; Suffolk County, NY; Berkeley, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Santa Fe, NM; Albuquerque, NM; Washington, DC; and Denver, CO.
On the federal level, we are supportive of several bills in Congress that would create a public campaign finance matching system, including the Government By The People Act and the Fair Elections Now Act.