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Author Topic: Profiles in Courage  (Read 3068 times)

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    • Agelbert Truth AND Consequences
Re: Profiles in Courage
« Reply #75 on: November 21, 2017, 01:33:10 pm »



Seattle’s new Democracy Voucher Program is reducing the power of big money and giving everyday people a bigger voice in local elections, according to initial analysis of the system in this year’s municipal elections by the Seattle-based Win/Win Network and national money-in-politics reform group Every Voice Center.

In 2015, Seattle voters overwhelmingly approved the Honest Elections Seattle ballot initiative by a 63 percent to 37 percent vote to create the first-in-the-nation Democracy Voucher Program.

In 2017, the program went into effect for the first time, distributing four $25 Democracy Vouchers to every Seattle resident for use in two at-large city council races and the contest for city attorney. The program will expand to other races including the race for mayor in future election cycles.

To qualify to spend the vouchers, candidates agreed to only accept small donations of $250 or less, raise a threshold number of small contributions, gather signatures, and agree to limit their campaign spending. Use of the program was widespread in 2017, with 13 out of the 17 candidates in the primary election agreeing to participate, and six of them meeting the qualification requirements to redeem the vouchers. Five out of the six contestants in these races who advanced to the general election ran using Democracy Vouchers.

As the following analysis details, Seattle’s Democracy Voucher Program is achieving its intended goals by generating historic numbers of new and small donors, diversifying the makeup of campaign supporters to better reflect the people of Seattle, and limiting the reliance on big money in local elections.

Using data currently available, our initial analysis of the 2017 election surfaced these key findings:

•    At least 25,000 Seattle residents—a historic number—participated as campaign donors in this election cycle, three times the roughly 8,200 residents who donated to candidates in 2013.

•    As of publication, more than 18,000 Seattle residents gave nearly 70,000 Democracy Vouchers to 2017 candidates, and more Democracy Vouchers are likely to be received before the December 1 deadline.

•    An estimated 84 percent of this election cycle’s Seattle donors were new donors—about 20,900 individuals who had not contributed to city candidates in the 2015 or 2013 cycles. Among these new donors, 71 percent were voucher donors.

•    Contrasting voucher donors to city council and city attorney candidates with cash donors to mayoral candidates in 2017, Democracy Voucher donors better reflected Seattle’s population including young people, women, people of color, and less affluent residents.

•    Candidates in races eligible for Democracy Vouchers relied less on big money. Instead, 87 percent of the support for their campaigns came from small donations of $250 or less and Democracy Vouchers. By contrast, small donations accounted for just 48 percent of the money backing candidates for city council and city attorney in the 2013 elections.

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