Enable grassroots candidates with strong community ties and/or popular ideas to run competitive campaigns, even if they do not have personal wealth or access to major donors.

Small Donors, Public Financing

• Encourage small contributions to provide a broad, grassroots base of support and funding of our elections

• Use the public airwaves and the public commons to inform the public about the election choices before them

• Provide public financing of elections

• Lower the cost of running for office through enacting elections by proportional representation

Encourage small contributions to provide a broad base of grassroots support and funding of our elections 

– Establish matching funds programs where small donations are matched with public funds at a greater than one-to-one ratio.

– Provide a $25 tax credit for small contributions to candidates.

– Create small donor committees that aggregate the voices of small donors.

Use the public airwaves and the public commons to inform the public

– Provide free time on the California Channel for all ballot-qualified candidates for state and federal office; and for all ballot-qualified political parties

– Require that free television and radio time be dedicated to candidates, elections debates and forums, and to ballot qualified political parties, as part of all commercial public broadcast licenses.

– Require that time on Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) Access Channels be dedicated to candidates, ballot qualified political parties, debates and forums for elections within the PEG area

– Offer full candidate statements in electronic versions of county and state voter guides at no cost for all ballot-qualified candidates that accept voluntary spending limits; and significantly reduce the cost for the hard copy versions

– Provide free media vouchers and a discount below the lowest unit-cost on broadcast advertising for candidates that accept voluntary spending limits.

Provide public financing of elections 

– Overturn the ban in California that prevents counties, districts, general law cities, or the state from offering public campaign funds (Proposition 73 in 1988). Currently only charter cities may offer public campaign funds.

– Provide a check-off option on state income tax forms to donate funds to support the ballot qualified political party of their choice (donation does not come out of their taxes, but is separate and additional)

Lower the cost of elections through enacting proportional representation

– Implement elections from multi-seat districts with proportional representation, which lowers the cost of campaigns by lowering the threshold to receive representation, and enables candidates to be elected by their natural constituencies in proportion to their numbers.

Large, single-seat legislative districts like for the California State Legislature require large expenditures to be competitive. Top Two elections make this even worse, by making the primary election as expensive as the general one. Repeal Top Two elections in California and replace them with  elections by proportional representation.  The first step is to sign the Repeal Top Two initiative petition circulating now.