The Council recently hosted two informative forums about public financing of elections in Seattle.
The first on January 31 featured representatives from the LA and San Francisco Ethics Commissions, and the Portland League of Women Voters. They spoke about how public financing works in practice.
The second forum on February 13 featured Key Mayer of the University of Wisconsin, and David Early of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. They spoke about the big picture of public financing, research, and the legal environment created by recent Supreme Court decisions, including Citizens United. They also discussed New York City’s public financing program.
The next step is to hear back from the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission in response to the letter from myself and Councilmembers Clark, O’Brien and Rasmussen. In December we asked them to recommend a public financing model that meets the goals of increasing electoral competitiveness, reducing financial barriers to entry for candidates, and increasing the role and emphasis of small donors in the electoral process, with an eye toward a possible 2013 ballot measure.