Chicagoans Can Cast a Decisive Vote During the 2015 Municipal Elections

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

By: Nikoleta Morales

Senator Dick Durbin introduced the Fair Elections Now Act in Illinois, which aims to magnify the voices of average citizens and reduce the influence of big donors over federal elections. The act creates a voluntary campaign finance system that allows candidates to run for office on a combination of small contributions and public funds.

In a press release, Sen. Durbin stated that “this act is an important step in his long-term effort to combat corporate interests and return democracy to ordinary voters.”

On Feb. 24, Common Cause’s Fair Elections Illinois campaign will give Chicago voters the chance to “stand up against the undemocratic power of Super PAC and Dark Money by voting YES for Fair Elections Illinois,” states the press release. The Fair Election Illinois Campaign was launched by the non-partisan organization Common Cause Illinois aiming to serve as a catalyst for political change.

According to Brian Gladstein, director of programs and strategy for Common Cause, there are three priorities on the campaigns agenda: voting rights, increasing opportunity for people and a judicial reform. “History of corruption in Illinois makes people more discouraged to vote,” sad Gladstein.

The Chicago campaign is modeling the one in New York, which increased competition among candidates; the number of donors who gave to participating candidates grew 35 percent after the first election cycle because of the city’s 6:1 public financing match. By implementing the Small Donor Public Financing Program model (SDFP), Chicago will join New York and LA in adopting this political election funding model.

SDFP amplifies the voices of voters by providing a 6:1 match for small donations and the participating candidates agree to a standard cap on their campaign budgets. Two of the key benefits are that the model limits the affect that large special interest money has in elections and increases the value of small donors in low-income families. The candidates who opt out are free to use the traditional system of campaign funding.

“We have raised less than $20, 000,” said Gladstein. “We have to build momentum. We want people to vote YES. We want everyday voices to be more engaged in the process.” For more information, visit:

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