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Maine has been a leader in the effort to get big money out of elections. Through a citizen initiative passed in 1996, Maine established the Clean Election Act, a process through which qualified candidates for gubernatorial or state legislative races can choose to refrain from typical private fundraising and instead receive public funding to support their election efforts. A candidate must agree not to accept any private monetary contributions and also must show support from his or her constituents by raising adequate “qualifying contributions” of $5 each. The public financing they receive is modest, but fully adequate to run an effective campaign for office. The system has been very popular.
When you go to vote on Election Day, you will be invited to sign a petition to put an updated version of the law on a future ballot to be voted on by the citizens of this state. This ballot initiative includes several provisions to make our election system more transparent and accountable. It also includes a funding mechanism that requires cuts to wasteful corporate tax giveaway programs.
I encourage every Maine citizen to support these efforts to strengthen our Clean Elections process by signing when asked by a Maine Citizens for Clean Elections volunteer. Our state has been the nation’s leader in working to get the influence of big money out of the political process. Support for this ballot initiative is an important step forward in that work.
Cushman D. Anthony