Mainers are fortunate to have one of the most progressive election funding laws in the United States. If you don’t like the undemocratic Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, you should love Maine’s Clean Elections Act, which was improved upon by the voters in a landslide last November.
At the recent caucus, I represented District 7 State Senate candidate Moira O’Neill. In addition to sharing Moira’s story, my goal was to collect $5 contributions under the Clean Elections Act. I soon discovered that many active voters are unfamiliar with this new process to protect political equity.
Here’s a quick summary of how it works: Office seekers may elect to run as Clean Elections candidates, or they may opt out and raise money from anywhere they can get it, including big business and nonresidents. In order to qualify for Clean Elections funds, the candidate must demonstrate voter support by collecting a minimum number of $5 contributions from registered voters within the district (60 for House and 175 for Senate candidates). Before qualifying, a candidate may also raise small amounts of seed money (no more than $1,000 for House or $3,000 for Senate candidates) in contributions of not more than $100 from any single individual (no businesses). After qualifying, the candidate may not accept any further private contributions in any amount. Hence they run without special interest money or money from large contributors expecting favors.
A qualified Clean Elections candidate is eligible for limited public funds to cover campaign expenses. These amounts range from $500 for an uncontested House primary to $20,000 for a contested Senate general election.
You can contribute $5 to help Clean Elections candidates like Moira O’Neill online at www.maine.gov/cleanelections. Click the contributions tab and in less than 5 minutes and for only $5, you can make a real difference in preserving the American ideal of one person-one vote.
Learn more from the League of Women Voters at www.lwvme.org on the Clean Elections tab.
If you don’t like how big money in politics hurts the little guy, please support Clean Elections candidates in Maine! That’s why I am helping the Clean Elections candidacy of Moira O’Neill for State Senate.
Suzanne Reifers Judd