Arizona's "Clean Elections" law leads to more diverse participation in the political process
According to a study by Public Campaign, Arizona's "Clean Elections" law has lead to campaign financing that "more accurately represent[s] the diversity of the state than the private system does." Donors "are more diverse racially and ethnically, as well as economically and geographically," and are "more widely spread out among neighborhoods where people tend to have lower- to mid-level incomes."
Arizona's system is not complicated. "Candidates who wish to take part in the system must raise a set number of $5 contributions from Arizona residents. They then qualify to receive a public grant to run their campaigns. Once they accept this grant, they must abide by strict spending limits and can no longer raise any private money for their campaign."
Yes, the donations are just $5, which means that almost ANYONE in almost ANY economic situation can fund a participating candidate on an equal footing with just about anyone else.
That sounds like DEMOCRACY to us!
The study has turned up some very interesting results. Read on for some details of what the study proves and what YOU can do to bring public campaign financing to your state...
Following are some quotes from the study showing just a few of the demographic groups that have seen their influence on the politics that impact their everyday lives expanded due to Arizona's "Clean Elections" law:
Racial/Ethnic Diversity: Clean Elections small donors are more racially and ethnically diverse than big donors giving to privately funded candidates.
Economic Diversity:Income. Clean Elections small donors are drawn from populations on the lower and middle parts of the income scale as compared to big donors giving to privately funded candidates.Geographic Diversity: By definition, Clean Elections $5 donors live in Arizona. Privately funded campaigns, however, collected a significant proportion of campaign cash from out of state.
Blue collar. Clean Elections donors are more likely to live in areas where people work in "blue collar" professions than big donors giving to privately funded candidates.
Poverty. Clean Elections donors tend to come from areas where there are greater levels of poverty than those areas inhabited by big donors to privately funded campaigns.
Home value. Clean Elections candidates collected more of their contributions, proportionately, from areas where housing prices are lower than privately funded candidates did.
Read the Executive Summary of the study here. It's a short read and very informative.
And even more importantly, please visit Public Campaign's action page where you can learn how to bring public campaign financing to YOUR state and, hopefully, to our entire nation. You can donate to Public Campaign's Action Fund here.