March 10, 2017

Why is campaign finance reform important?

What’s happening in Cambridge:

  • In 2015, three of the current city councilors pledged not to take money from real estate developers. The other councilors who did not take the clean elections pledge received a collective 45.5% of their campaign donations from real estate developers.
  • The average amount of money spent by the current city councilors on the 2015 election was $72,000.
  • As a comparison, the 2012 presidential race saw Obama and Romney spend a combined $2.142 billion and receive a combined total of around 126 million votes. That’s just under $17 per vote. In Cambridge, the amount spent per vote during the last election cycle was approximately $38 per vote.

What does the research say:

  • Candidates in clean elections spend more time interacting with voters rather than fundraising, and some candidates actually like that change! (Miller, 2014)
  • Clean elections encourage more voter participation. (Miller, 2014)
  • Small-dollar donors are more likely to contribute to candidates when those candidates participate in public matching programs. (Genn et al, 2012)