City Council Urged to Approve Public Funding for Chicago’s Elections


Public funding for the Chicago election will cost $66.8 million over four years, but the return on that investment is “tremendous” and it is believed that “a handful of big money donors” will “silence out the voices of ordinary Chicagoans.” It will prevent, the alderman said Monday. .

Illinois Reform Executive Director Alisa Kaplan and New York City Council member Shahana Hanif appealed to the Chicago City Council’s Ethics and Government Oversight Committee.

They urge members to follow the path blazed by New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Denver and pass an ordinance, or some version thereof, championed by Commission Vice-Chairman Matt Martin (47th). I was.

Kaplan called it “one of the most powerful tools we need to build a more just and ethical political system in Chicago.” That’s saying something in a city with a long and sordid history of public corruption.

“Our current campaign finance system is a mirror of the social and economic inequalities that plague our communities today. By enabling us to drown out the voices of our citizens, we are helping to entrench that inequality,” Kaplan said.

“Fair elections… empowering candidates and elected officials to pay more attention to the voters who need them most, not to those who can pay the most. Reduce toll-paying politics that reduces opportunities, wastes money, and can undermine public trust in government.”

Kaplan estimated the cost of public funding for Martin’s version at $66.8 million over the course of the four-year election cycle. She called it the “big bang for money”.

“If you’re talking about a tenth of the budget, in terms of how that changes the political landscape, you’re talking about a very small investment in something that can deliver a very high return on investment. There will be,” she said. she said.

Hanif described her neighborhood, which includes parts of Brooklyn, as being the “richest and whitest” neighborhood in New York. She is one of her two South Asians elected to the New York City Council.

“I thought raising money would be the hardest part of running, but it turned out to be the easiest part,” she said.

“I cannot stress enough how important our city’s public funding program has been to me. Many of my opponents came from more privileged backgrounds, but thanks to our city’s public matching program, we’ve come across a more level playing field. ”

Voters entering a North Side polling place considered accessible to people with disabilities during the April 2019 run-off election.

Voters entering a polling place on the North Side to cast their ballots in the April 2019 runoff.

New York City’s program includes an 8-on-1 public match.

Martin’s secular stagnation ordinance calls for a 6-1 public match totaling up to $3.6 million for mayoral candidates, $180,000 for city clerk and city treasurer candidates, and $150,000 for alderman candidates.

To qualify for these matching funds, mayoral candidates must raise “at least” $200,000 from 1,145 Chicago residents in “matchable contributions” of up to $175 per person.

City Clerk and City Treasurer candidates must raise at least $175,000 from at least 100 donors, each with the same $175 cap.

The City Council minimum is $17,500, raised from at least 100 donors. Of her first 100 people who donated $175 or less, at least 60 must live in the ward. You can live outside the ward, but you must be a Chicago resident.

All eligible donations must be received within 90 days of the voter going to the polling place, up to 6 months before the election.

The ordinance says nothing about public funding sources.

No votes were taken at the agenda hearings, but several aldermans voiced their support.

“This is a joke…that we cannot have public funding programs or public matching programs in this cycle. We are doing it,” said Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35th), President of the Socialist Presidium of the Council.

Aldo. Andre Vazquez (No. 40) said public funding of Chicago’s elections was “crucial” for up-and-coming candidates like himself. Vasquez said he defeated O’Connor in 2019 when he served as his leader on the floor of Congress under Mayors Richard M. Daley and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“When I was running for public office, I had no relationship with funders, to the extent that I had to borrow tens of thousands of dollars from my 401(k) just to advance the campaign. …I We had to raise $200,000 against $1.5 million to get our message across.”

Aldo. Gilbert Villegas (No. 36) said he was “very open” to public loans, but “handicapped himself” when the union still allowed him to contribute up to $60,000. I want to avoid it.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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