The Importance of Fair Elections
Our campaign finance system is broken and does not serve everyday Chicagoans. Political campaigns have become too expensive. The total spent by all congressional candidates rose from $77 million in 1974 to $1.8 billion in 2010 — an increase of $1.7 billion, more than five times the rate of inflation.
While 64% of eligible Americans voted in the November 2008 election, less than 0.5% are responsible for the bulk of the money that politicians raised from individual contributors. The result is that, all too often, well-funded lobbyists and large special interests determine who is elected and gain an extreme undue influence over public policy decisions at the expense of the needs of average people.
In February 2015, Chicago voters were given the opportunity to support a ballot question calling for a small donor match campaign finance program. The ballot question asked "Should the City of Chicago or the State of Illinois reduce the influence of special interest money in elections by financing campaigns using small contributions from individuals and a limited amount of public money?" 79% of all Chicago voters supported the proposal, a clear mandate to implement Fair Elections.
The ordinance is a small donor match campaign finance program that increases competition among candidates and increases political participation. Following the Citizens United decision, unlimited Super PACs and special interest funders now dominate our elections.
The role played by influence-seeking money in our political system affects almost all aspects of public policy in the city. Empowered citizens are the answer to successfully challenging this broken system. If small contributions are magnified with public matching funds, millions of citizens can change how campaigns are run and won.
"...citizens can change how campaigns are run and won..."
Small Donor Match Campaign Finance Program