Sunday, October 08, 2006

Clean elections in 2008?

I have been reading about the Arizona Clean Elections Act, and I am convinced that the time has come for Colorado to adopt similar legislation in time for the 2008 election cycle. Here are a few key points from the state of Arizona web site:
Question: What is the Citizens Clean Elections Campaign Act?
Answer:
One of the country’s most comprehensive public financing systems, the Citizens Clean Elections Act was initiated and passed by Arizona voters in 1998. The Act is an innovative campaign finance reform measure that created full public funding of campaigns to qualified candidates who wish to run for statewide and legislative offices.

Question: What is the purpose of the Citizens Clean Elections Campaign Act?
Answer: By encouraging broad-reaching citizen participation in the political process and eliminating special-interest monies in campaigns, the Act levels the playing field for qualified candidates by providing limited and equal funding, and enables registered voters to support their preferred candidates through affordable contributions and grass-roots support. Also, the Act allows candidates to focus their campaigns on the issues in the best interest of Arizonans, not funding.

Question: What has the Act done for Arizona political candidates?
Answer:
Overall, it has given an increasing number of qualified candidates the ability to run for public office. Since enactment though 2002, the system distributed $14.6 million to 198 candidates. And by 2002, participation in Clean Elections grew to nearly 250 candidates. The Citizens Clean Elections Act is thought to have contributed to an increase in the number of campaign contributions from voters that were collected across the State, from approximately 30,000 in 1998 to more than 90,000 in 2002. In 2002, candidates running with Clean Elections funding won seven of the nine statewide offices and 32 legislative seats out of 90. In November 2004, with 90 legislative seats available and four Arizona Corporation Commission positions available, 122 candidates are running Clean Elections campaigns.

Question: Has Clean Elections been successful in increasing the number of “participating” candidates?
Answer:
Yes. The percentage of people running as participating candidates rather than as traditional candidates has increased every election cycle. In 2000 only 26% of the primary candidates ran using clean elections funding. The number of candidates jumped in 2002 to 56% and increased once again in 2004 to 61%.
I don't have any figures for 2006 yet, but I am willing to bet that the number of candidates is well above 61%.

I urge every voter to contact each of their legislative candidates to ask them to pledge support for getting a Colorado Clean Elections Act passed in 2007.

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