Yesterday, voters from coast to coast fought back against big-money politics. Voters in Maine and Seattle resoundingly approved ballot measures aimed at empowering the voices of ordinary citizens in the political process.
The results for the Maine Accountable Elections initiative and Seattle’s Honest Election campaign are a resounding victory for a people-centered vision of democracy, in which regular Americans are still able to run and win elected office without having to rely on lobbyists and wealthy special interests.
Grassroots energy and mobilizing led to this victory for We the People in Maine, which will now make more money available for qualifying small-donation candidates, increase fines for campaign finance violators, and require groups to disclose some donors on political ads. Seattle’s campaign was similarly impressive, producing solid support for an initiative that, among other changes, will further democratize city elections by giving every voter a chance to invest in political campaigns.
Through our Inclusive Democracy Partnership, Demos was proud to work with Washington Community Action Network (WCAN), a key leader of the coalition, to provide policy and research assistance on the path to victory. Seattle is now poised to be the first city in the country to use democracy vouchers, empowering ordinary people with a stronger voice in government.
We hope that this leadership on people-centered politics will inspire similar reforms in other states and ultimately in Congress, where legislation such as the Government by the People Act could pave the way toward federal elections that are first and foremost accountable to the people of our country.