Democracy Vouchers – Lousy idea but I've got a plan!

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This topic contains 31 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  JoB 19 hours, 50 minutes ago.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 32 total)
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  • #870094

    skeeter
    Participant

    I don’t like the Democracy Vouchers. Seattle is an amazing city but we’ve got no shortage of needs. I am not comfortable with taxpayer dollars being used to finance campaigns when we could put that money to use taking care of our people.

    Obviously I’m in the minority – at least the minority who bothered to vote – because the initiative passed.

    Tax dollars being spent on campaign signs littering the side of the road and robo-calls bothers me so much I’ve hatched an idea.

    I’m considering running for City Council in 2017. My only election promise (at this point, at least) is I would return every dollar of democracy voucher money to the city. If Seattle voters want to give me $10,000 of Democracy Vouchers then I will take the money and write a check to the city for $10,000. So instead of $10,000 of taxpayer money paying for campaign signs and robo-calls, $10,000 of taxpayer money would be returned to the city for other priorities.

    This idea may be a violation of the Voucher Program. So I just sent an email to the SEEC (Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission) asking if this behavior is allowed. I’ll report back.

    #870095

    JanS
    Participant

    will be interested to see what they say…

    #870098

    anonyme
    Participant

    Skeeter, I like your idea. I also hope you run. I’d like to know more about you, as you seem like a sensible conservative.

    #870114

    Chemist
    Participant

    You need to raise qualifying, real contributions of $10 or more from a lot of people to receive the funds. I don’t think that money can be reimbursed from the voucher funds without violating 122 provisions.

    150 contributions if running for city attorney and 400 if an at-large city council seat

    #870132

    skeeter
    Participant

    Hi guys,

    I heard back from the city. My plan will not work. I would either have to spend the money on the campaign or return the money to the voucher program. I would not be allowed to return the money to the city general fund – which was my intention.

    Thanks for the input though. I still think this program is irresponsible. But I guess that’s how Seattle taxpayers want our money to be spent.

    #870134

    anonyme
    Participant

    Skeet, does this mean you won’t be running for City Council?

    #870135

    skeeter
    Participant

    Well maybe someday! At this point I’m working on getting experience and who knows what the future holds.

    Right now I’m serving on a Seattle citizen committee. Learning a lot how city operations function. It’s a very rewarding role and I’m glad I can contribute.

    #870185

    RAK
    Participant

    I agree that this is a stupid idea that just adds expense and bureaucratic complication besides the hassle factor.

    I will watch out for alternatives.

    #870210

    JoB
    Participant

    I had to do some real digging to find what the candidates had to do to qualify for these funds..
    i liked what i saw

    http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/EthicsElections/DemocracyVoucher/Democracy%20Voucher%20Program%202017%20Candidate%20Pledge.pdf

    #870216

    redblack
    Participant

    here’s the real meat of the matter (thanks to jo for the link):

    I will not accept contributions from any individual or entity in excess of $250, plus $100 in vouchers, during the election cycle.

    it also prohibits candidates from raising money for or taking money from PACs.

    other than being weak tea, so to speak, how is this is a “lousy” idea? it gets money out of the local election process, and prevents the purchase of influence through campaign contributions.

    sadly, it doesn’t apply to the 2017 mayor’s race, but it will in 2021 – if it isn’t repealed first – because all 4 of my vouchers would go to ed murray’s opponent.

    #870232

    JanS
    Participant

    thank you, Redblack :)

    #870246

    JoB
    Participant

    if we all supported candidates on the list who had agreed to the terms for democracy vouchers.. it could be a lot more than weak tea..

    Mr Murray didn’t get my vote the first time and he won’t be getting it now..
    not even if he signed up for and was eligible for democracy vouchers..

    but that’s another story..

    #870320

    skeeter
    Participant

    I think it is a lousy idea because it uses taxpayer dollars to fund political campaigns. Again – I am in the minority. The initiative passed, and this is what Seattle voters want their taxpayer money spent on.

    I wish every political sign printed by candidates accepting vouchers would have a disclosure “this sign paid for with taxpayer dollars.” And I wish every robo call would include “this call paid for with taxpayer dollars.”

    #870325

    anonyme
    Participant

    Unless the same rules are applied to all candidates, nothing has been accomplished. In reading through the available info, it would appear that any candidate could forego vouchers in favor of what will undoubtedly be much larger corporate donations. As written, the rules are extremely complex and IMO, a bit dodgy. It’s unfortunate that an attempt at campaign finance reform had to include the voucher provision. We don’t need to pay more property taxes to fund experiments; there are quite enough of those at play already.

    #870338

    JoB
    Participant

    yes, but it is easy for us to find out which candidates do,.. and which don’t.
    i won’t vote for a candidate who doesn’t sign the pledge.
    will you?

    #870339

    JoB
    Participant

    skeeter..
    love your idea..
    could we also institute signs that say paid for by __________ special interests?

    i know the meme going around with the nascar style endorsements was meant to be a snide joke
    but i have always thought it would be a great idea to have some kind of disclosure under a politician’s remarks that said who pays his campaign bills…

    #870387

    Sue
    Participant

    One reason I don’t like them is that my donation becomes public record when I use the vouchers. From the FAQ on the website:

    “To ensure that vouchers are assigned to the correct candidates, the Seatthe [sic] Ethics and Elections Commission will publish a list of candidates who received vouchers and the names of people who assigned them vouchers on this website. All voucher assignments are public information.”

    I don’t wish my name attached with a particular candidate on the internet, so I won’t use them.

    #870458

    redblack
    Participant

    skeeter: are you opposed to publicly-financed elections as a model? or is it simply that the money is generated with property taxes?

    because i’m opposed to privately-funded sky’s-the-limit campaigns.

    what about the $250 (or some other number) campaign contribution limit? or a prohibition on PAC money?

    do we have any common ground when it comes to campaign finance reform?

    • This reply was modified 5 days, 8 hours ago by  redblack.
    #870481

    JoB
    Participant

    good question
    if this is not “the” answer.. as though in Seattle there could ever be a “the” answer that was perfect enough…
    what is?

    because what is happening now is not sustainable

    #870609

    redblack
    Participant

    bump.

    i look forward to an engaging and informative conversation with conservative-leaning folks on this subject.

    #870637

    skeeter
    Participant

    Redblack – you make some valid points. Our government is broken. Special interests have WAY too much influence. They’ve bought off 100% of elected republicans and 75% of elected democrats.
    Don’t we all agree that any republican serving in congress would *secretly agree* it is extremely irresponsible to eliminate the ACA without a replacement? But they’ll (probably) still do it. Why? Because powerful interests are paying them through campaign donations.
    But I just can’t imagine the “fix” for this situation is using tax money to pay for campaigns. Is there anywhere else in the country where this has been tried? Tax money should be used for schools and job programs and roads and libraries etc etc that serve the common good. I don’t think I can ever bring myself to accept tax money going to political candidates is appropriate – even if it helps reform a broken system.
    I don’t have the answer.
    I really enjoy your contributions to the forums Redblack – and I hope you enjoy mine as well.

    #870659

    redblack
    Participant

    right back atcha, skeeter. thanks for being thoughtful, respectful, and polite.

    let’s set public campaign financing aside for a minute.

    would you support local campaign contribution limits? and i mean in the low hundreds of dollars, to take guys like martin selig out of the game.

    (if you don’t know, selig poured tens of thousands of dollars into campaign advertising that put the final nail in the seattle monorail’s coffin, and stated loudly that an elevated train along second avenue would ruin his property values.)

    i guess what i’m getting at is that i don’t think the wealthy should be able to buy more democracy than i can. or elected office, for that matter. especially when they fight taxation tooth and nail.

    • This reply was modified 2 days, 22 hours ago by  redblack.
    #870669

    CM
    Participant

    Hey, just curious, and my googlefoo is weak tonight. Do any of you know what happens to the money from people who choose not to use their vouchers? Seems like the tax has already been collected, whether we use these or not, so what happens to it?

    #870670

    JoB
    Participant

    good question
    i came back after dinner and looked it up..

    “if everyone doesn’t “spend” their voucher dollars? Where does the leftover money go?
    The money rolls over to the next election year’s funds and will be available if and when we have a year when the city is spending more than it’s taking in.”

    have more questions? here’s one place to find the answers. it’s where i found the quote i posted.

    https://theevergrey.com/seattles-democracy-voucher-program-money-youre-going-get-mail/

    • This reply was modified 2 days, 18 hours ago by  JoB.
    #870671

    CM
    Participant

    It was a question I couldn’t find an answer to when this thing showed up on the ballot, and I haven’t heard an answer since it was approved. Which is why I voted against it. I’m not opposed to limiting campaign contributions at all, but this is a terribly flawed plan that “we”, the great uninformed, voted in without any thought to consequence. Just more tax on homeowners with no real impact, just wasted money from our pockets.

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