Council continues consideration of public financing of elections

Home » Council continues consideration of public financing of elections

public financing

On Monday, May 13 the Council will continue its consideration of returning Seattle to a system of partial public financing of elections. Seattle had public financing from 1979 to 1991 before a change in state law made it illegal from 1992 to 2008.

The Council will review several issues relating to how a system of public financing could be structured, including qualifying, spending limits, contribution limits, match level, and how to fund it. The agenda for the meeting is here.

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission sent a letter recommending the Council consider a program for City Council races. Candidates would need to show a broad base of support by obtaining at least 600 contributions of $10 or more to qualify, agree to limit their spending to $210,000, and receive a 6-1 public match used in New York City.

I wrote an about public financing in Seattle earlier this year.

In January and February, the Council held forums with representatives from the Elections offices of Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have public financing, and academic experts, which included a review of New York City’s public financing program.

Materials from the first meeting of the Public Campaign Finance committee on April 29 meeting are here.

The City Council has a Public Financing issues page, with links to relevant documents, including video of the presentations the Council received. Future meetings are scheduled for May 28 and June 10, and June 17 if necessary. Approval in a November public vote would be necessary to adopt public financing.