Vote Yes on I-1464 to Help Take Money Out of Politics

The measure would take Seattleā€™s novel publicly financed election model statewide.

It’s no secret that money and donor influence has corroded the integrity of American government. The United States Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which found that corporations have a right to spend unlimited sums of money on elections, has become a euphemism for corporate overreach. But the rot is older than Citizens. A recent study of nearly 2,000 policy decisions between 1981 and 2002 found that “economic elites” strongly influence elected officials’ decisions, while ordinary citizens have “little or no independent influence on policy at all.” Translation: We live in a plutocracy where money talks. I-1464 alone will not solve this problem, but it is a big step in the right direction. It would close a loophole that allows political groups to launder their money through shell entities called political action committees (PACs), thus hiding the money’s origin from voters. It would also create a three-year waiting period before retired public officials could start lobbying their old offices, and lower the burden of proof for showing that a candidate illegally coordinated with “independent” PACs. But here’s the doozy: I-1464 would create a public campaign-finance program in which the government would issue “democracy vouchers” of up to $150 to qualifying candidates (Seattle passed similar legislation last year). How do they qualify? First, by getting at least 75 human individuals to contribute at least $10 each to their campaign (this is to weed out joke candidates) and second, by agreeing to limit other donations. The idea is to give candidates a financial stake in courting ordinary voters. The democracy credits would be funded by closing a tax loophole that currently allows some shoppers from other states to waive sales tax. By magnifying the fundraising power of grassroots candidates, democracy credits would make a small difference in big, well-funded elections and a big difference in smaller elections. I-1464’s other features would help keep those candidates honest once they’re in office. Vote yes for I-1464, because democracy matters.

Read the rest of Seattle Weekly’s endorsements for the 2016 general election here.

More in News & Comment

Maru Mora Villalpando stands outside of the Seattle Immigration Court after her first deportation hearing on March 15, 2018. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Anti-ICE Organizer Stands Defiant at Her Own Deportation Hearing

Hundreds gathered in support of Maru Mora-Villalpando outside of Seattle Immigration Court.

Suburban and Rural Students Join the Call for Gun Control

What the National School Walkout looked like outside of Seattle.

Garfield High School students stand in silence to protest gun violence. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Seattle Students Take Part in the National School Walkout

Garfield High School students pay tribute to the Parkland victims by rallying for gun control.

Issaquah will not be housing a supervised consumption site like the facilities found in Vancouver, B.C. Photo by Nicole Jennings
Reproductive rights marchers during the 2017 Seattle Pride Parade. Photo by Bobby Arispe Jr./Flickr
Seattle Abortion Providers Weigh in on Reproductive Parity Act

The newly passed state legislation will cover abortion services for private insurance holders.

A pro-immigrant sign at the 
                                2018 Women’s March in Seattle. 
Photo by David Lee/Flickr
Can Immigration Issues Be Fixed at the County Level?

King County establishes new commission to support immigrant and refugee communities.

Photo by Taylor McAvoy
No Longer Silent: Sexual Assault Survivors Push Legislative Change

Seeking systematic reforms, victims spoke up this legislative session.

Photo by Nicolas Vigier/Flickr
Legislators Come to Agreement on Deadly Force Reform

An agreement between lawmakers, activists, and police alters and passes the I-940 ballot initiative.

Namasgay participants gather at a local meetup. Photo courtesy of Frank Macri
Making a Home for Spiritually-Minded LGBTQ Folks

Namasgay hosts local events for queer people seeking greater self-actualization.

Most Read