Seattle Voters Address Problem of Big Money in Politics

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Seattle voters just approved a ballot initiative that could give voters more say in the city's elections, therefore reducing the corporate and special interests influence.

Initiative 122 (I-122) was voted in on Tuesday making it the first-of-its-kind public campaign financing program, which might soon be a model for campaign finance reform in other cities. The initiative would give each voter a $25 "democracy voucher" for each city election that can be used in the city's campaign for major, city council and city attorney. In return, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission will give the voucher money to candidate who agree to follow the guidelines of Initiative 122: participate in three debates, accept lower outside contributions and set spending limits, according to Common Dreams.

"If Seattle shows the way, changing local politics may prove the key to change on the national political scene," Terrance Heath, Campaign for America's Future blogger, said.

The initiative also "prohibits elected officials and their high-level staff from lobbying the city government within three years of leaving office and enacts limits on campaign contributions from people or entities that have contracts with the city," according to Common Dreams.

Maine also passed a similar initiative during midterm elections on Tuesday.

As Seattle puts forth its own solution to getting money out of politics, will citizens' voice finally be heard and the influence of wealthy donors and lobbyists decrease?


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