May 3, 2016
Democracy Initiative recently built a strong coalition of state and national partners to fight for campaign finance reform in Maine. Democracy Initiative seeks to build a movement to halt the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics, prevent the systemic manipulation and suppression of voters and address other obstacles to significant reform. In Maine, its recent work focused on reforming the campaign financing system by building support for and helping pass the Maine “Clean Elections” Ballot Initiative. This law allows publicly financed state candidates to qualify for additional funds under certain limits and rules in the Maine Clean Election Act, improves the disclosure of who pays for political ads and increases penalties for violations of campaign finance law.
Democracy Initiative produced impressive results in Maine. In addition to successfully passing the Maine “Clean Elections” Ballot Initiative, it educated over 82,000 individuals. To achieve this victory, the Democracy Initiative employed several innovative strategies. It used mass communications technology to educate the public on the need for this important reform. In addition to traditional e-mail and telephone outreach, Democracy Initiative also employed tele-town halls to organize and mobilize voters and volunteers in support of the campaign. Finally, it employed a coalition of national organizations working at the state level to bolster its efforts.
In response to the Democracy Initiative’s work, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections Executive Director, Andrew Bossie reported, “Democracy Initiative’s efforts to connect national organizations to the work on the ground and build capacity throughout the state among a diverse set of organizations made a crucial difference in allowing Mainers to resume control of our elections.” Voqal applauds this innovative use of national coalitions to win state level progressive reforms and looks forward to seeing similar campaigns conducted in the future.