Alaska Clean Elections, Measure 3 (August 2008)

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The Alaska Clean Elections Act, or Measure 3, was on the statewide August 26, 2008 ballot in Alaska as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated. It would have provided public funding for legislative campaigns. The initiative would not have stopped politicians from collecting seed money for campaigns. It would have forced any those chose to be publicly funded to adhere to strict spending limitations.[1]

Candidates would have also had the option to remain privately funded.

Election results

Alaska Clean Elections, Measure 3
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No120,87564.3%
Yes 67,162 35.7%

Results from Anchorage Daily News.[2]

Primary sponsors

The initiative's primary sponsors were Timothy R. June, Victor Fischer, and Joseph McKinnon.

The initiative also received a letter of endorsement from Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.

Representative Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) co-sponsored the legislation. From her perspective as a legislator, she said, "“I would love very much to know that the only people I’m beholden to are the citizens of Alaska. [If the measure passes] you have to get a minimum threshold of support; it forces candidates to go out and talk to the people who would vote for them.”

Signature requirements

Sponsors needed a total of nearly 24,000 signatures from qualified voters in at least 30 of the state's 40 election districts in order to get it on the 2008 ballot.[3]

Signature accusations

Proponents of the Clean Elections Act have accused the sponsors of the Anti-Corruption Act of harassing signers. There have also been accusations of misleading electors that they are signing for the Clean Elections act when they are in fact signing for the Anti-Corruption Act or even offering money in exchange for signatures.

Bob Adney who is working for the Anti-Corruption Act has said that they are misinformed and the charges are based on false reports. Each petition circulator is trained for 2 hours and is given a dollar for each signature collected. Adney commented that he highly doubts any voter would sell their signature for a portion of that fee.

Campaign Disclosure

Here is the campaign disclosure report for the Clean Elections sponsors.[4]

Contributor Date Amount
BJ Gottstein 1/03/2008 $5,000
Clifford Groh II 1/04/2008 $200
IBEW PAC 1/04/2008 $1,000
AKPIRG 1/08/2008 $7,950
Total 4/04/2008 $14,150

Supporting arguments

  • Affirm the principle of "one person, one vote" by reducing the disproportionate influence of large contributors on elections and enabling citizens of all backgrounds to participate equally in the democratic process;
  • Strengthen public confidence in government and eliminate the perception of corruption caused by private financing of election campaigns;
  • Increase accountability of elected officials to the voters;
  • Create genuine opportunities for qualified individuals to run for state office and encourage more competitive elections;
  • Free elected officials from the incessant demands of fundraising, enable them to spend more time interacting with constituents and carry out official duties;
  • Slow the escalating cost of elections;
  • Assist voters and candidates to hear and be heard on a more level playing field, and provide for more open and robust debate on issues of public concern.[5]

How Clean Elections would work

Clean Elections would work by offering modest sums to officials running for state campaigns. By taking this money, officials would be agreeing to run according to Clean Election spending standards. Part of the provisions of this money would allow an increased sum of money if the candidates competition chose to run a privately funded campaign.

In order to be applicable for Clean Election money there would have to be a petition with a number of valid signatures and $5 contributions to show significant ground support for an official.

It's been estimated that if every state official chose Clean Election money for the next campaign that it would cost voter's $6 million.

However, in Maine 80% percent of the legislature uses Clean Elections Funds and Arizona has twice elected a governor funded by clean elections.

Opposing arguments

One blog, Roger That has come out in opposition of the Clean Elections Act saying,

"It’s expensive, complex, exposes the state to lawsuits, muddies the political process, and lowers the bar for political candidates who would otherwise be weeded out through lack of support because the public perceives they have little to contribute to the collective political dialog."
  • Contribution limits undermine fundamental First Amendment rights;
  • Contribution limits favor incumbents;
  • Contribution limits favor wealthy candidates and parties;
  • Contribution limits favor political insiders;
  • Contribution limits take control of the campaign away from the candidates.[6]

See also

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External links

References