July 11, 2019 – In a victory for a democracy where the strength of our voices does not depend upon the size of our wallets, the Washington State Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Seattle’s innovative “democracy voucher” program, which provides City residents with four $25 vouchers to support candidates of their choice.

Case Background

In 2015, Seattle voters approved a first-in-the-nation program that provides Seattle residents with $100 in “democracy vouchers,” which they can distribute to candidates who pledge to receive more of their funding from small-dollar sources and less from big money. Seattle's Democracy Voucher Program reduces wealth-based barriers to participation in city elections, expands opportunities for traditionally under-represented communities to increase their participation and voice in city elections, and incentivizes candidates to directly connect with a broader range of their constituents, including homeless voters.

Two property tax payers sued to block the Democracy Voucher Program, alleging that it violates the First Amendment. Demos filed amicus briefs defending the constitutionality of the program on behalf of numerous community and national organizations who supported the initiative, both at the trial court and appellate levels. The legal challenge was dismissed by the Washington Superior Court in November 2017 and this ruling was then appealed.  The appellate court certified the case directly to the Washington Supreme Court, which rejected the challenge in July 2019.


Washington CAN, APACEVotes, Every Voice, Fix Democracy First, Fuse, LGBTQ Allyship, OneAmerica, Represent Us, Washington Democracy Hub, WashPIRG, Win Win Network


Free Speech for People, Smith & Lowney PLLC, Harry Williams Law