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With D.C. Mayor’s Signature, Another Jurisdiction Implements Fair Elections


With D.C. Mayor’s Signature, Another Jurisdiction Implements Fair Elections

Nation’s Capital Is Latest Locality to Adopt Public Financing of Elections to Strengthen Democracy

March 14, 2018

When Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Fair Elections Act this week, Washington, D.C., became the latest jurisdiction to adopt public financing of elections as a way to strengthen democracy.

Similar legislation has been passed in New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles, and locally in Howard and Montgomery Counties in Maryland. Prince George’s County also is considering a Fair Elections bill.

In D.C., the campaign to pass the bill has been supported by dozens of economic, social and racial justice organizations, as well as the entire D.C. Council, which voted unanimously in February to pass the Fair Elections Act.

Small-donor empowerment programs provide public matching funds to candidates who accept only small contributions, rather than relying on wealthy donors and corporate interests to bankroll their campaigns. This way, candidates can run for office and win, even if they don’t have access to wealthy friends or a message that appeals to wealthy donors.

Public financing programs lower barriers to entry in often costly election campaigns, especially for people of color and women, who can lack access to the kind of network of wealthy donors needed to run for office.

Public Citizen experts are available to discuss fair elections legislation nationwide. Please contact one of the individuals listed above.