New public financing plan may be on November ballot - Albuquerque Journal

New public financing plan may be on November ballot

A group of election advocates has submitted a petition with more than 27,000 signatures in an effort to place a revamped public financing proposal before voters in November.

Advocates say they hope the ballot initiative is “the first step to put the power to decide who represents the city back into the hands of the voters and improve the city’s public finance system.”

The proposal would amend the City Charter by adding “Democracy Dollars” to the city’s election code. Registered city voters and voting-eligible residents would use the Democracy Dollars coupons to contribute to their choice of qualified candidates. The candidates would then redeem the dollars with the city clerk, up to a limit, for funds to spend in support of their campaigns. The program would tap into an existing $3.1 million city public financing fund.

“Democracy Dollars puts the power of public financing directly in the hands of Albuquerque’s citizens and gives them greater choice,” said Heather Ferguson, co-director of ABQ Democracy Dollars. “It will increase participation in the local election as it has in Seattle, where the system is in place, and it will give candidates a reason to reach out to ordinary voters, not just big donors who do not tend to be representative of our diverse, vibrant community.”

The City Clerk’s Office must now certify those thousands of signatures. A minimum of 19,480 signatures from registered city voters were required on the petition for ballot placement, according to Ferguson.

Seattle voters in 2015 passed a citizen-led initiative known as “Honest Elections Seattle,” which allowed the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to distribute “Democracy Vouchers” to eligible Seattle residents.

The Albuquerque proposal would direct the City Council to establish an ordinance providing for issuance and redemption of the coupons.

Nearly 70 percent of Albuquerque voters said yes to a public financing system in 2005, which allowed participating candidates to receive a stipend if they agreed to not accept private contributions. Under the system, City Council candidates who take public financing receive $1 per voter in their district, usually around $30,000 to $45,000. Mayoral candidates get about $380,000.

In 2009, all three mayoral candidates used the system, including Richard Berry, who defeated then-incumbent Martin Chávez.

In 2013, Berry accepted private donations and outspent his closest challenger, Pete Dinelli – who participated in public financing – by well over a two-to-one rate.

In last year’s mayoral election, then-State Auditor Tim Keller was the sole participant in the public financing system in his successful run to City Hall.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » New public financing plan may be on November ballot


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Gov. appoints new IT secretary
ABQnews Seeker
Peter Mantos, who has had a ... Peter Mantos, who has had a 30-year career in software development and technical management, is joining Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration as secretary of ...
2
Rains ease drought, but flooding threats loom
ABQnews Seeker
In the past two weeks, some ... In the past two weeks, some parts of New Mexico have received more than half of their typical annual rainfall. The persistent rain is ...
3
Governor issues order aimed at protecting abortion access in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Three days after the U.S. Supreme ... Three days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a landmark abortion ruling, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday signed an executive order aimed at ...
4
BCSO looking for information on homicide at gas station
ABQnews Seeker
Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputies are looking ... Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputies are looking for a gray sedan that may have been involved in a homicide at a South Valley gas station ...
5
Supreme Court backs coach in praying on field after ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Supreme Court said Monday that ... The Supreme Court said Monday that a high school football coach who knelt and prayed on the field after games was protected by the ...
6
Police looking for info after shooting on I-40
ABQnews Seeker
  Albuquerque police are asking for ...   Albuquerque police are asking for the public's help after someone was shot in the legs while driving on the interstate two and a ...
7
Why captions are suddenly everywhere and how they got ...
ABQnews Seeker
People with hearing loss have a ... People with hearing loss have a new ally in their efforts to navigate the world: Captions that aren't limited to their television screens and ...
8
VA clinics in northern NM to stay open
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's U.S. senators announced on ... New Mexico's U.S. senators announced on Twitter Monday that Veterans Affairs clinics in New Mexico are no longer at risk of closing. The Department ...
9
NM department heads, others didn't disclose financial info
ABQnews Seeker
Elected officials, the leaders of state ... Elected officials, the leaders of state agencies and certain other appointees are required to file annual disclosures