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The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus

News

Voinovich, Brown urged to cosponsor Fair Elections Now Act

Sunday, Mar. 8, 2009

In an e-mail to U.S. Senators George V. Voinovich and Sherrod Brown today, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus asked the senators to cosponsor the Fair Elections Now Act.

E-mail was used to ensure delivery by Mar. 12 and was sent in response to an action alert issued by the League of Women Voters of Ohio. The full text of the e-mail follows:

On behalf of the board of trustees of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus and our hundreds of members across central Ohio, I urge you to cosponsor the Fair Elections Now Act. This bill, soon to be introduced by Senators Durbin and Specter, will help level the campaign playing field and maximize participation in the political process.

The League of Women Voters advocates a voluntary public financing system for congressional candidates. Such a system would help ensure open and honest elections, maximize citizen participation in the political process, reduce undue influence by wealthy special interests, and enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office.

The Fair Elections Now Act provides candidates the opportunity to qualify for a set amount of public money to run their campaigns if they agree to take only small donations. It is principally modeled on laws already working well in Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, North Carolina, and elsewhere.

The bill gives voters more choices because of an increase in first-time candidates and those willing to take on incumbents who traditionally are better funded. It levels the playing field so that candidates compete on their character, not their bank accounts. It decreases the time both new candidates and incumbents spend fundraising and increases the time they speak to voters. And it decreases the influence of wealthy special interests and halts the skyrocketing cost of campaigns.

Because money -- not qualifications or political ideology or constituent representation -- has emerged as the primary qualifier for achieving public office, our democracy is being eroded. I urge you to cosponsor the Fair Elections Now Act.

Thank you for your service to the people of central Ohio.