California Democratic Party Endorses Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act
California Dems Say No to Elections Bought By Special Interests; Special Interests; Yes to Elections by Voters and Yes to Proposition 15, California Fair Elections Act on June Ballot
Los Angeles - The California Democratic Party
endorsed Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act
without opposition. Proposition 15 is a ballot measure that
would get elected officials out of the fundraising game and
focused on solving California's problems.
"Proposition 15 is a good first step. When all elections
are eventually fairly won, not bought, the state will be
better able to improve our schools, address the budget
crisis and iron out health care," said John Burton, the
chairman of the California Democratic Party. "That's why
the Democratic Party is proud to endorse Proposition 15,
the California Fair Elections Act."
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.
"We can all agree that the influence of special interest
money means ordinary Americans don't have a voice in the
debate," said Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland). "By passing
Proposition 15, we can begin to break the connection
between political donations and public policy."
Authored by Senator Hancock and signed by Governor
Schwarzenegger, the California Fair Elections Act 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. A version of the California Fair Elections Act
is already in place in eight 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. National surveys show
that two out of three voters support public financing.
"Sadly, financial barriers have kept many talented women
and other candidates who aren't wealthy or don't know
wealthy donors from running for office," said Alex
Gallardo-Rooker, the vice-chair of the California
Democratic Party. " Proposition 15 would open the political
process to candidates of all backgrounds who show that they
have a broad base of support."
When these financial barriers are eliminated, as they have
been in Arizona and Maine, more women and people of color
are allowed to run for office. In Arizona, Former Governor
Janet Napolitano was elected under the fair elections
system and the number of Latino and Native American
candidates running for office nearly tripled in the first
year that the system went fully into effect, from 13 in
2000 to 37 in 2002.
Voters are 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.
"Currently, candidates need to spend too much time
fundraising -- time they could be spending solving our
problems instead," said Eric Bauman, vice-chair of the
California Democratic Party. "When California passes Fair
Elections public financing, elected officials will be able
to focus on the work they were elected to do."
"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."
Sunday's endorsement by the Democratic Party comes days
after the California Labor Federation endorsed Proposition
15. The Labor Fed, representing 2.1 million people, joins
the California Nurses Association, the American Federation
of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the
Golden State Jobs Coalition, League of Women Voters of
California, AARP, California Clean Money Campaign,
California Common Cause, California Primary Care
Association, Consumer Federation of California, the Sierra
Club and hundreds of other groups and prominent individuals
in endorsing Proposition 15.