Clean Elections

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Alaska Countdown

A week from Tuesday voters in Alaska get a chance to vote on whether they want Clean Elections in their state. Appearing on the ballot as Measure 3, the Clean Elections Initiative would provide a full public financing option for candidates running for state office.

Corruption to Clean Elections

Will the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and the imprisonment of several Alaska state legislators in connection with Veco Corporation bribery scandal boost the number of voters who support the Clean Elections initiative on the ballot in Alaska this month? The author of this letter to the editor of the Fairbanks News-Miner thinks a full public financing program for state elections would help put these scandals in the past.

From Kaarle Strailey:

Activists You Should Know

A PBS producer and a writer have collaborated on a book, Your America that chronicles the work of accidental activists -- ordinary Americans who saw injustice and fought to fix it, creating successful grassroots movements for change in the process. One of the stories told is that of Jackie Thrasher a Clean Elections supporter in Arizona who went on to win a seat in the state House of Representatives.

From the MSNBC article on the book that mentions Thrasher:

Minimum Security Resort and Spa

Monty Python told us to always look on the bright side of life, but former Alaska state Rep. Vic Kohring took it a bit far on his last day before beginning a three and half year prison sentence for taking bribes from Veco Corp. to advocate for a pipeline project. TPM Muckraker has the highlights from Vic's last day on the outside, his bizarre roadside thank you to the people of Alaska, and his ambitions for life behind bars.

Seattle Waits for '09

Looks like Seattle is going to wait a year before asking voters to approve a ballot measure to create a full public financing program for city council elections. A citizen's commission was formed to give a recommendation to the council on how to proceed in light of the passage of law giving municipalities the option to pursue Clean Elections-style public financing systems for their elections.

Costly Considerations

New York Governor David Paterson (D) took some heat when he said he wouldn't push for a Clean Elections public financing bill this year. He said it was for budget reasons but Bethany Foster of The Brennan Center wonders whether that budget shortfall was created by the kind of politics Clean Elections would help combat.

Fund It

The Asbury Park Press issues a stern warning to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and the state legislature to restore funding for the state's Clean Elections pilot program and expand eligibility to include primary races, where newcomers have the best chance to mount competitive bids.

Drop Something, Gov. Paterson?

Hey, we know it's hectic when you start a new job but it seems that in all the chaos of assuming office following Eliot Spitzer's rather hasty departure New York Governor David Paterson forgot his reform agenda. The New York Times reminds him what it looked like.

We've seen some rather mixed messages from the Governor. He supports Clean Elections, but seems reluctant to put his weight behind any significant legislation to alter business as usual in Albany:

Tipped Hats All Around

Mary Ann Lindley of the Tallahassee Democract gives a "tip of the hat" to Florida state Sen. Alex Villalobos for declaring his support for public financing of campaigns and I in turn tip my hat to Lindley for a well-written editorial on why it's high time we address how campaigns are financed, and policy written.

She scoffs at what she terms "rhetorical nonsense" from opponents of Clean Elections-style systems who deem it too expensive:

Good for Speech

This letter by Michael Armstrong, reprinted from the Santa Fe New Mexican in Black Enterprise handily takes on many arguments put forth in opposition to full public financing of elections in a brief but effective summary of the many reasons we spend our days working for Clean Elections.

I like his arguments about how public financing protects and enhances free speech in particular: