Public financing of elections is integral part of Fix Democracy First’s mission in addressing money in election. This is why FDF joined with other coalition members in the creation of “Honest Elections Seattle” to put I-122 on the ballot in Seattle, which voters passed in November 2015. Seattle is the first city in the nation to try this type of public campaign financing.
The initiative enacted several campaign finance reforms changing the way campaigns are typically financed for Seattle candidates. One major reform allows the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to distribute “Democracy Vouchers” to eligible Seattle residents. Other campaign reforms include campaign contribution limits for lobbyists and contractors.
The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission is committed to increasing transparency, accountability, and accessibility for how Seattle elections are financed.
What are Democracy Vouchers?
Eligible Seattle residents will receive four $25 certificates they can use to support candidate(s) running for Seattle City Council or City Attorney. Seattle residents may give eligible candidates one ($25), two ($50), three ($75), or all four ($100) of their Democracy Vouchers.
How’s it working and what’s next?
Being the first year the program has been implemented, early results show thousands are participating in the system who have never participated before. And candidates without a lot of funding behind them, are stepping up to take advantage of the system and engage the public and fund their campaigns in a whole new way.
The success of using Democracy Vouchers in Seattle can inspire other cities to follow suit, and eventually pave the way for state or national us of public funding of elections through vouchers or other means.