Clean Elections -- in New York?

Credit: Flickr/PatjaAlbany is often considered the poster-child for shady governance. It's been called "a swamp of intrigue and corruption" among other things.

There's now a legitimate chance to change all of that in one fell swoop. An impressive and ambitious coalition of civic groups, former elected officials, and the very big-name donors who are tired of constant chase for political cash has come together to push for a fair elections system funded by average citizens, not the wealthy 1 percent.

The New York Times is taking the campaign seriously, with a front page (even in the DC version I read) article on the effort yesterday.

The proposal would provide clean resources to candidates to break their dependance on $60,000+ contributions from a tiny fraction of the richest donors, donors with different opinions and priorities than the rest of us. It would give engaged but average-earning citizens without Wall Street networks a real chance to run for office competitively. Most important, it would take a big step towards ensuring that the strength of a New Yorker's voice doesn't depend upon the size of her wallet.

Governor Cuomo announced his support for the effort in his State of the State address. Now he has about 75 days until the end of the legislative session in June to show strong leadership and push it past the finish line.

A victory in a huge state like New York would send shock waves through the money-driven political cultures of other states. . .and even reach the epicenter of big-money power, Washington, D.C.

Those who care about who owns our democracy—voters or donors—have a short window to shake things up. The name of the coalition leading the charge is Fair Elections for New York.