Central and West Orange County Residents Say No to Elections Bought By Special Interests; Yes to Proposition 15

By Californians for Fair Elections

Former State Senator Joe Dunn, Reverend Minh Hanh Nguyen, and Californians for Fair Elections Chair Trent Lange join community leaders to support Proposition 15 on June ballot

Garden Grove - Former State Senator Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana) and community leaders came together today to educate the Central and West Orange County community about Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act, a ballot proposition which would start to end the outrageous amounts of money in politics by getting politicians out of the fundraising game.

The forum was held at Saint Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Garden Grove, and was hosted by Reverend Minh Hanh Nguyen, Associate Rector for the Vietnamese Ministry, who also spoke about the need for Fair Elections.

Since 2000, over $1 billion has been raised by California politicians, buying special interests unprecedented access but shutting out the rest of us. That's why polls show nearly three out of four voters want to change the way elections in California are financed.

Authored by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, Proposition 15 would establish a voluntary pilot project for California's Secretary of State races in 2014 and 2018. Candidates would qualify for public financing if they agree to strict spending prohibitions and raise a large number of $5 contributions from Californians. The pilot program would be funded primarily by fees on lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers, with no taxpayer dollars going to candidates.

Fair Elections systems similar to that Proposition 15 are already in place in seven states and two cities. Nearly 400 candidates were elected using only fair elections funding in their 2008 campaigns, and the programs enjoy popular support across party lines. A January 2010 poll of Connecticut residents found that 79% support their Fair Elections system.

Voters in California are also ready for elections that money can't buy. In an October 2009 survey, likely June 2010 voters supported the California Fair Elections Act by a nearly 3-1 margin. Support held strong across all political parties and geographic regions of California with support of 65% among Latinos, 65% among Democrats, 65% among independents, and 59% among Republicans.

"Under a Fair Elections system, elected officials truly represent voters, not campaign donors," said Trent Lange, chairman of the California Fair Elections Campaign. "Public financing has freed elected officials across the country to pass bi-partisan, groundbreaking legislation that is only possible when our leaders do not fear retribution from powerful special interests."

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