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Maine Voters Send Message to Nation: We Can Fix Our Broken Campaign Finance System

November 4, 2015 | Adam Smith

Voters in Maine approved Question 1 on Tuesday to remove the barriers big money erects for ordinary people to run for office and have their voices heard in our political system. Maine voters sent a message to the nation that we can fix our broken campaign finance system, said money-in-politics group Every Voice.

“Maine voters went to the polls and sent a clear message that the time has come for bold solutions to raise the voices of everyday people in politics,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice. “With Washington, D.C. mired in gridlock and a presidential race focused on who can befriend the most billionaires, voters are taking matters into their own hands. States and cities across the nation will work to replicate this success.”

Donnelly served as the campaign manager for the successful 1996 campaign to implement the original Clean Elections system in Maine.

By a nearly 10-point margin, voters approved the initiative to enhance disclosure and enforcement requirements and strengthen the state’s landmark small-donor public financing system that allows candidates to run competitive campaigns for office without relying on wealthy special interest donors. Mainers voted to preserve the nation’s most blue-collar legislature and ensure that farmers, waitresses, and factory workers are still able to run and win elected office without having to rely on lobbyists and big donors. You can learn more about the initiative here.

“Today Mainers sent a message loud and clear. We want transparency. We want a government accountable to everyday people. And, we want a strong public financing Clean Election law that puts voters in control of our democracy – not wealthy special interests and high paid lobbyists. With tonight’s victory – that’s exactly what we will get,” said Andrew Bossie, Executive Director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, who along with Mainers for Accountable Elections lead a massive statewide grassroots effort to pass the initiative.

Working closely with groups in Maine, Every Voice played a key role in the winning campaign through strategic guidance, technical support, and deploying 11 experienced campaign staffers in the days leading up to Election Day to manage get-out-the-vote canvass crews, knock on doors, and make phone calls to get out the vote. Every Voice provided significant financial support and the campaign was augmented by several other national groups that donated money, mobilized members, deployed staff, and supported the campaign in countless other ways.

Every Voice is working with groups around the country to build momentum from this victory and explore measures in as many as four to six locations in 2016.

“Everyday Americans deeply believe in the patriotic ideals of a government of, by, and for the people and of striving to create a more perfect nation. For Americans who have lost faith in their government because they believe their elected officials don’t listen to everyone, Maine should serve as a beacon of hope,” said Donnelly.

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Every Voice is a national nonpartisan organization fighting for a democracy that works for everyone. Learn more at everyvoice.org.