Proponents of Seattle Initiative 122 say large companies and wealthy individuals are increasingly using their money to push regular people out of the political process. They say Honest Elections Seattle would push back — by giving every registered voter in the city “democracy vouchers” to spend on candidate campaigns. The Nov. 3 ballot measure would authorize a 10-year, $30 million property-tax levy to pay for the vouchers while tightening rules for campaign contributions and lobbying. Seattle would be the first jurisdiction in the country to have such a voucher system.
“We have so many problems where solutions are blocked by the influence of money in politics,” said Alan Durning, executive director of the Sightline Institute, a progressive nonprofit think tank, and an author of I-122. “We have an enormous opportunity to demonstrate that progress is possible.”
I-122 is endorsed by many other progressive nonprofits, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, the League of Women Voters and the Municipal League of King County. Its campaign has raised about $1.3 million.