Episode 35 - Public Financing of Campaigns & Democracy Vouchers

By Jason Bennett

Season Two of the Election University Podcast is here! This season, in addition to providing resources for down ballot campaigns, we are investigating the forces that influence elections. From voter contact tactics, to election security, to funding your campaign, we’ll cover it all. You’ll get the context you need to participate fully in your democracy, no matter your level of political experience.

Today, we kick things off with an investigation of an innovative way to fund political campaigns—public financing! The goal of public financing is to lower the barrier of entry for candidates who don’t ordinarily have access to the ballot. Candidates without deep pockets are empowered to run competitive races. Voters and residents are empowered to participate in local elections, regardless of their socio-economic status. Some localities have experimented with public financing of elections through grant or contribution matching systems. But Seattle has taken a new approach to public financing—one that automatically empowers all residents to participate. On this episode of the Election University podcast, we get the inside scoop on Seattle’s Democracy Voucher Program. We chat with Seattle Ethics and Elections’ Rene LeBeau about the Democracy Voucher’s successes and shortfalls, and discuss its implications for the future of publically financed elections.

Rene LeBeau is the Democracy Voucher Program Manager at Seattle Ethics and Elections. She previously worked on election implementation and administration at King County Elections and the Washington Secretary of State’s office. She also has five years of experience in software.

You can learn more about Seattle Ethics and Elections and the Democracy Voucher Program here.

It’s season two, and we want to hear from you! Send us your podcast topic recommendations! Send us your comments and questions! We missed you over the break, and we want to hear from you! You can reach us at podcast@electionu.com or leave us a note or a review in the comment section below.

You can listen to the show right here on the EU website or by subscribing in iTunes, Apple Podcasts, GooglePlaySpotifyStitcherSoundcloudiHeartRadio, and more! If you do subscribe, please leave us a rating and review. We love the feedback and we read every one! If you'd like to hear a particular topic on our podcast, please email podcast@electionu.com. As always, thanks for listening! 

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    Episode 1 - Our Inaugural Episode

    Episode 3 - Locking Down Your Campaign Security

    Episode 4 - Political Spouses

    Episode 5 - Voter Integrity & Voter Protection