Illinois has the opportunity to be a pioneer of public financing in the Midwest. We have two proposals to reform the system based on models that have been used elsewhere in the country.
Small donor match
The first is a small donor match program. Any donation made to a candidate’s campaign that is between $5 and $100 will be matched with city funds at a 6:1 ratio. Candidates who opt into this program must demonstrate community support by collecting at least 100 initial small donations and signatures, and then must agree to spending limits and restrictions.
In this system, individual donations are magnified to have a greater impact on the candidate’s campaign. For example, a small donation of $25 would turn into $175 received by the candidate.
The second system is a voucher program. In this system every registered voter is automatically mailed two $25 vouchers they can only use to donate to campaigns, along with a voter guide to provide information on the candidates and how to use the vouchers. Candidates must similarly qualify for the program through signatures and spending limits.
Permanent residents and non-registered eligible voters may request to receive the vouchers. After writing in the candidate(s) of their choice on the vouchers, residents mail them back to be cashed in by the campaign.