Massachusetts Taxpayer Funding for Political Campaigns Advisory, Question 3 (2002)

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The Massachusetts Taxpayer Funding for Political Campaigns Advisory Question, also known as Question 3, was a non-binding legislative referral advisory question that appeared on the November 5, 2002 ballot in Massachusetts, where it was defeated.

It sought to determine whether the people of Massachusetts favored or opposed taxpayer money being used to fund political campaigns for public office. As a non-binding advisory question, the voting results would serve only to advise legislators and would not establish a law, repeal a law or bind the legislature.

Election results

Question 3 (Taxpayer Funding for Political Campaigns)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No1,462,43565.87%
Yes 517,285 23.30%

Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Elections Division

Supporters

The initiative was supported by Common Cause for Massachusetts, a non-partisan citizen's organization working for open government. They argued that the initiative was a deceptively worded attempt to repeal the Clean Elections Law by showing that Massachusetts voters disprove of taxpayer money funding political campaigns. The organization argued that the Clean Elections Law increased competition for public office and reduced corporate special interest money in campaigns by providing a limited amount of public financing for candidates who accept strict campaign spending and contribution limits. The organization claimed that the initiative was an attempt by incumbent legislators to avoid having to compete for their jobs.

Opponents

The initiative was opposed by the Honorable Francis J. Larkin, who claimed that taxpayer funding of political campaigns is a wasteful use of limited public funds. He claimed that such funding could cost taxpayers over $100 million per four-year election cycle, and that there were no safeguards in place to prevent fraud and misuse of taxpayer money. He argued that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for the campaigns of politicians they don't necessarily support or endorse.

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