The city of Seattle is trying out a campaign finance experiment in city elections using a voucher system to give money to candidates. In January, residents received four $25 vouchers, paid for with taxpayer funds, that they can give to their candidates of choice for offices such as city council. “It was like getting a little check from your grandma,” Seattle resident Dakota Solberg said of the dark blue slips of paper that arrived in his mailbox recently. Unlike a check from Grandma, the vouchers, totaling $100, can only be spent on candidates for Seattle offices. Solberg said he has never contributed to local races before. “This feels like just extra money that I can use to start participating more,” he said.
Solberg said he hopes others get more involved too. Around 1 percent of Seattle adults contribute to local politics. In 2015 voters overwhelmingly approved a campaign finance reform ballot measure creating the democracy voucher program.
“Really, the intent behind it was to get people involved who have not ever made a contribution to a city candidate,” said Wayne Barnett, executive director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, which runs the program.
Full Article: Seattle tries voucher system to reform campaign finance.