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.”