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How Small Donors Are Giving Super PACs a Run for Their Money


How Small Donors Are Giving Super PACs a Run for Their Money

Lynsi Burton

Election reform advocates are closely watching Seattle to see whether it becomes a viable model for getting big money out of local politics. Last year the city approved a “democracy vouchers” program, which will publicly fund local candidates through small donors, requiring limits on campaign spending.

Starting in 2017, all registered voters will receive $100 in vouchers from the city government to spend in $25 parcels on their preferred candidates for city office.


Vouchers are a terrific idea. Not only do they begin to even the playing field, they contribute to the individual sense of being a 'stakeholder' in the election process. While some will simply dismiss their vouchers, many will begin to participate in the electoral process.

Another means of leveling the playing field would be to reduce the costs of running for office. That our MSM is permitted to make obscene profits from election ads is appalling. I seem to remember that at one time they were required to provide public service since they were using public airwaves. Reducing the cost of ads (maybe to a cost+10% basis?) would be more than reasonable.


Small contributors don't have the staying power of concentrated capital. That's what the oligarchy counts on. Small contributors may win one or two, like with Bernie, but that does not last.

Ralph was right. Getting the money and revolving doors out of politics should be our number one priority. And getting politicians out of the picture could be a requisite.

Direct Democracy


I like the voucher idea, too. But, how does the program prevent fraud? I can imagine a number of very tired and poor voters willing to sell their vouchers to unscrupulous party hacks for $.50 on the dollar just so they can eat and pay their electric bills for a month. And the hacks of course will spend the vouchers on the candidate they support.

The airwaves still belong to we the people. Candidate and ballot issue advertising should be limited and free!


You make an excellent point. Hopefully that possibility can be thwarted somehow.


No matter how campaign financing is configured, things will remain the same. The rich get full representation, the middle class get quite a lot, and the poor have no representation whatsoever, no voice in the public forum.


Always so worried that the poor will use any pennies that trickle down in a way that does not meet the approval of the middle class...

Think about it for a minute: For whom can the poor vote with this election? Neither of the two power candidates today represents the poor. The Clinton wing brought the war on the poor to fruition back in the 1990s, and worsened conditions for the elderly poor and the disabled as recently as 2015 as they continue whittling away at the New Deal.