SEATTLE (AP) – Many voters don’t have the money to donate to political candidates or don’t care enough to bother. But what if the government gave them $100 to dole out as they saw fit?
That’s the experiment underway in Seattle after voters adopted the nation’s first voucher system for campaign contributions. The idea is to get those who don’t normally donate more involved in politics as a way to counteract the influence of big corporate donors and wealthy individuals.
Seattle’s voters this month approved $3 million a year in property taxes in exchange for four $25 vouchers that they can sign over to candidates for mayor, city council or city attorney, beginning in 2017.
To be eligible to redeem the vouchers, candidates must collect a threshold number of small-dollar donations and agree to strict contribution and spending limits.