Oakland, California, passed a measure that gives residents taxpayer-funded “Democracy Dollars” to donate to political campaigns in a bid to increase voter turnout and to broaden campaign opportunities to candidates who lack deep financial resources.
“We deserve a government that prioritizes the needs of Oakland residents, rather than wealthy special interests,” Fair Elections Oakland says on its website. “We need to know that our local elected officials are fighting for us—that they’re working to create affordable housing, improve our schools, and keep the streets safe—instead of helping out their wealthy campaign funders.”
Characterized by the San Francisco Chronicle this week as an “under the radar measure,” the bill was supported by 74% of voters in the Nov. 8 election. The Fair Elections Act, placed on the ballot as Measure W, requires the city to send adult residents, including non-U. S. citizens who hold Green Cards, four $25 vouchers every two years to be donated to local political campaigns.
The measure will be funded by the city’s general fund, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and will total at about $4 million per election cycle.
To qualify for “Democracy Dollars,” candidates must first show they received a certain number of traditional cash and/or electronic donations from voters. The “Democracy Dollars” are not actual cash but rather a transfer of money from a city account, and can only be donated to city elections, such as candidates running for mayor or school board.
Oakland is the second city in the nation to adopt such a program, following in the footsteps of Seattle…. (Read more)