NC Leaders Call for Voter Owned Elections

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Read this piece in North Carolina's News & Observer by North Carolina leaders who are calling for the establishment of Voter Owned Elections in that state. They say it best, so here are some excerpts:


[L]isten to us -- two conservative former officeholders, an eight-term Democratic state legislator and a Republican school board member and nominee for statewide office. We have witnessed the corrosive effects of the year-round chase for campaign contributions and we agree: It's time for a major change in how we finance elections.


We are not alone. More than 1,200 past and present North Carolina elected officials, from mayors to Council of State members, agree that success at raising money should not be the measure of a good public servant. Like us, they believe the current system of hustling large amounts of money from a relatively small circle of donors and special interests has become unhealthy for candidates, voters and our democracy.


It's not improper for individuals to support their favorite candidate with a donation. But the potential for trouble escalates as the cost of campaigning soars higher and public officials find themselves spending more and more time worrying about big donors, rather than listening to ordinary voters. The public feels shortchanged; the candidates feel trapped.

The ongoing investigations of campaign finance abuses in North Carolina and Washington add urgency to the need for adopting systemic reform. We must close loopholes in our laws, strengthen enforcement and hold wrongdoers accountable -- but we must also address the root cause of so many problems today: the overbearing influence that private fundraising has gained over public elections.

If we, the public, don't offer candidates a real alternative to the money chase, including incentives for accepting realistic spending limits, then we have only ourselves to blame for letting private interests take over our public elections.