This is a critical time to contact your City Council Member (including the At-Large members who represent everyone in the city). Kevin Flynn has introduced a bill to cut Fair Elections funding, and it's on the agenda for the Monday, October 26th City Council Meeting. Please reach out to your Council Member TODAY and make sure they've heard from you before the vote on Monday.
UPDATE: County Clerk Paul Lopez (responsible for Denver Elections) wrote City Council on Monday in opposition to any cuts in Fair Elections, saying, " I urge you to oppose this ordinance as [it] shortchanges the Fair Elections Fund and the successful administration of this program. Ethical elections governance and compliance is an essential function and the Fair Elections Fund will require the full $8 million as originally intended and passed by the City Council and the people of Denver in 2018."
Let City Council know you want them to oppose any effort to cut or suspend funding for Fair Elections, and ask them to support the essential benefit to all Denver residents that Fair Elections embody -- empowering underrepresented communities, taking wealth out of the equation when running for public office, and creating a system that ensures we can trust the people we elect to truly represent their communities and prioritize the public interest, not the special interests.
Here is contact information for the 13 Denver City Council Members. It would take nine of them to declare a fiscal emergency and raid the Fair Elections Fund. If you get a response, please email Owen@CleanSlateNowAction.org to let us know anything you can share about the Council Member's perspective on protecting Fair Elections.
Denver City Council Contact Information (click here to identify your Council Member)
Additionally, if you're interested in making public comment in support of Fair Elections at 5 p.m. at the Public Hearing as part of the Monday, October 26th Denver City Council Meeting, you can sign-up at the following link: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-city-council/public-input/public-hearings.html . Sign-up begins at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, October 26th.
For more information on The Fair Elections Act and our efforts to defend it, please see the resources on this page or contact Owen@CleanSlateNowAction.org .
Thanks again for all your help -- keep it up!
Please click the link below to sign and share our petition to Mayor Hancock and Denver City Council asking them to protect Fair Elections and vote against any effort to cut funding for The Fair Elections Act (Democracy For The People/2E) in its first year of implementation. Please share as widely as you can through social media, website, email to your contacts, etc. This is an urgent call to action, as City Council and the Mayor are finalizing the budget now.
We are making progress in winning necessary support from City Council Members to defend The Fair Elections Act, but Mayor Hancock answered their budget amendment requests by saying he will take funds from Fair Elections to cover their requests if they vote to cut this year's funding of the Fair Elections Act.
Here's the situation: two years ago, we passed The Fair Elections Act (Democracy For The People/Measure 2E) in Denver with 71% of the vote -- a monumental mandate! The Fair Elections Act combats the corrupting influence of big money in politics through a package of components that bans corporate donations, requires the disclosure of dark money (with an accompanying ordinance), lowers contribution limits, and provides matching contributions for candidates who turn down PAC and special interest money and only accept contributions from individuals. Fully funding the ordinance takes less than 2/10 of 1 percent (.002) of Denver's annual budget.
At a budget hearing last week Councilman Kevin Flynn suggested cutting funds from the Fair Elections Act by invoking an emergency clause to suspend the appropriations to the Fair Elections Fund. City Council included the suggestion in their letter to the Mayor requesting amendments to his budget, citing four amendments that could take money from the Fair Elections Fund. The Mayor just responded, saying if City Council will legislatively suspend the funding of the Fair Elections Act, the Mayor will divert the money to the budget amendments.
In order to cut the 2021 funding, nine of 13 Council Members would need to vote to invoke the emergency clause and suspend or reduce the funding. Several City Council Members have already stood up in defense of Fair Elections, and the Clerk's office, the office that oversees Denver elections, has made the case that especially in this first year of operation, The Fair Elections Act needs the full funding voted in by over 200,000 Denver voters in order to ensure meeting the demands of what the Clerk's office says could be the most active election ever in Denver. Their projections anticipate needing at least 94% of their full funding to meet the realistic demands of the cycle, but in this first cycle of operation, it's very hard to know for sure what will be needed.
If Fair Elections runs out of money, a very realistic scenario if the funding is cut, the clerk will need to declare the public financing component of the law as out of funds for the cycle, and the clerk will have to essentially invoke a new set of rules at the peak of the election cycle, upsetting the balance that makes publicly financed elections work.
This ballot measure is one of the most popular citizen-initiated measures ever passed in Denver, receiving more than twice the votes that the Mayor received in winning re-election. The people of Denver didn't foresee the Fair Elections Fund being used as a piggy bank to draw from whenever there are budget shortfalls elsewhere, but if the precedent is set in its first year of operation, it's easy to foresee that the funds could routinely be diverted, keeping the Fair Elections Act from functioning as it was designed to, keeping it from ever getting on its legs, and threatening its future existence.
The overwhelmingly massive majority -- 71% -- of the voters thought they were making an unequivocal priority of ensuring fair elections as a benefit to all Denver residents -- especially the marginalized communities that are too often left out of the political process in a traditional election system that favors big money. The people spoke emphatically at the polls, and they certainly didn't expect their mandate to be challenged on an annual basis.
Please speak up on behalf of the the residents of Denver and ask Denver City Council and Mayor Hancock to protect Fair Elections and keep them fully funded throughout this critical first cycle. Every issue we care about -- from Health Care to Climate Change, from Affordable Housing to Police Reform, from Education to Transportation -- comes back to getting big money out of politics, ensuring Fair Elections, and empowering the people to pick leaders they can trust to truly represent our communities by prioritizing people, not money.
Thanks for your help!
They have models for a variety of scenarios, including forecasting a need for between $7.3 million needed during the cycle for the public matching funds and a worse case scenario forecasting $9.75 million needed during the cycle for public matching funds. None of those forecasts include the significant additional matching dollars needed for the inevitable run-off elections., or the unexpected special elections or recall elections that could come up.
The Fair Elections Act was voted in with an allocation of $8 million per cycle (approximately $2 million per year), and that covers matching funds for all elections, including regular elections, run-offs, special elections, and recall elections, as well as administrative costs.
The Clerk's office warns that if Fair Elections aren't fully funded with the voter-mandated $8 million for the Fair Elections Fund, they do not expect to have enough money to fully administer the program for the 2023 elections, potentially upending the political process.
"I had my concerns about The Democracy For The People Initiative because of Citizens United. But in a $1.5 billion budget, there's no need to raid The Fair Elections Fund to support STAR, libraries, eviction defense, etc. It passed with 71% of the vote, and I intend to honor that vote." -- Amanda Sawyer, October 2020
"I'm fully in support of the Fair Elections Act, and it needs to be fully funded for the election cycle." -- Paul Kashmann, October 2020
"The mayor is essentially holding democracy hostage: granting Council’s budget amendments, but only in exchange for the hefty ransom of Denver’s brand-new fund to support grassroots candidates. In a year of crisis for our democracy, now more than ever, we must strengthen pro-democracy reforms like the Fair Elections Fund, not gut them. The Fair Elections Fund is an important tool in ensuring our government represents the people.
"While we witness democracy for sale at the highest level of government, the people of Denver spoke loudly and clearly that they want campaign finance reform. Our Denver elections are not for sale, and we should not accept the Mayor’s unilateral decision to sacrifice our first opportunity to fairly fund them." -- Candi CdeBaca, October 2020
"In November 2018, the people made it clear that we want money out of politics with a decisive 71% vote in favor. This initiative will change how our candidates get their message to the people, we just don't know the details yet. Until we at least see how the new rules affect our elections, I'm against any modifications or defunding of this process." -- Chris Hinds, October 2020
Check out this great video
"Denver voters passed one of the most enlightened campaign financing reforms in the nation. Funding, which would even the playing field in the 2023 municipal election is being gutted by this proposal. This effort could be called the Incumbent Protection Program. Please let our City Council representatives know we are watching and not happy." -- Larry Ambrose, Denver
"Denver voters have overwhelmingly spoken. It would be an outrage to cut the funding for the Fair Elections Act. Fair elections are essential for all." -- Robyn Jacobs, Denver
"Democracy is too important!" -- Arturo Jimenez
"Fair Elections is not a luxury. Corruption is a real and present danger in this country, we have to make this a priority." --Elizabeta Stacishin, Denver
"Fair elections in 2020 are more critical than ever. I voted for this reform. Make it count for our democracy." --Tom Parson, Denver
"What is more important right now than a fair election which could mean a fair everything else!" --Vicki Lindner, Denver
"Representative government is crucial. Follow the people's will." -- Mary-Margeret Schomp, Denver
"The fairness of the election process has already been threatened. These funds were never intended to be used for other purposes and are vitally important to ensuring the democratic process is honored." -- Laura Lasater, Denver
"People are tired of private enterprise purchasing our elected representatives at all levels. I appreciate our mayor doesn't like the independence of the current council. But, we, the citizens made it clear there needs to be a new way, a better way. Keep the funding and learn to deal with the new world." -- Charles Norris, Denver
"Keep Fair Elections and don't cut funding. It levels the Democratic Playing Field. Denver City Council MUST find $$$ elsewhere!!!" -- Deborah Burgess, Denver
"We are all well aware of the budget crunch, but this is not a good place to cut." --Walt Geisel, Denver
"When 71% of the votes were a resounding "Yes" for campaign finance reform, it is absolutely wrong to "rob" this funding. I signed because I am tired of dark money in our elections." -- Nita Lynch, Denver
"Money shouldn't control our local elections. Honor the people's vote." --Tom Rickman, Denver
"Fair Elections was overwhelmingly approved by the voters and should not be touched. Instead, City Council should cut the police budget." -- Andrew Stoeker, Denver
"The people of Denver voted for this initiative to help level the monetary playing field in our local elections." --Arcelia Mozee, Denver
"I collected signatures for this initiative, and I’m tired of watching the mayor and city Council tear apart what citizens have built just to put it back together their way." -- Adam Corwin, Denver
"Election reform- eliminating big money influence- is essential to our democracy" --Patricia Fox, Denver
"We need to protect the Fair Election fund and divest from DPD to support the STAR, Eviction Defense and other programs that support the community rather than police it!" --Janelle O'Malley, Denver
"Denver's Fair Elections Act is clearly the will of the people. It must be fully funded and implemented." --Elaine Connell, Denver
"I don't like monies being diverted away from what we voted for. No you don't get to loot the bank!!" --Helen Rigmaiden, Denver
"The people of Denver have spoken. Support free and fair publicly supported elections." --Brenda Riske, Denver
"WHAT?? Never before have voting rights been more important. Why defund now of all times?" --Jennifer Satori, Denver
"The last decision I trust was in 2018. I don't like seeing council ignoring a vote of we, the people." --Tom Morris, Denver
"Respect the will of the voters...!" --Margaret Bobb, Denver
"I'm signing because corporations wield far too much political power in our country and state, and the people recognized this in passing the Fair Elections Act. It MUST BE fully funded. If you need more funds to run the city, take them from some corporate priority instead, or we will all know where your loyalties lie." --Pamela Behan, Fort Collins
"Running for public office should be an option for all, not just the wealthy." --Jon Cefkin, Denver
"Fair elections contribute to a fairer democracy." -- Christine Soto, Denveer
"Fair elections matter." -- Katrina Sims, Denver
"The last thing we need is to back off fair elections. Corrupt elections, voter suppression, gerrymandering, dark money and unlimited bribery must be eliminated. The Fair Elections Act is a good start and a model that must be extended to all of Colorado." --Geoff Dolman, Longmont
"I'm signing because I want corruption out of politics." --Jeremy Gage, Denver
"I voted for Fair Elections b/c I want fair elections! Duh!" --Melissa Kalick, Denver
"We need to keep our Denver city elected positions open to all competent individuals no matter their bank checking accounts and their friends' checking accounts. #DemocracyForThePeople ." --Dr. Valentina "Val" Flores, Denver
"Elections should be won, not bought." --Robert Stocker, Denver
"It's vital to take big money out of politics, reduce use of funds from PACs and special interests, and promote public financing of elections, to make sure all voices are heard." --Polly Reetz, Denver
"Being against fair elections, against getting the corrupting influence of big $ out of local politics! Wanting to basically overturn the vote of 71% of Denver voters (in a good voter turnout), including a majority of voters in every Denver precinct! These are NOT American ideals!...Please defend fair elections & meaningful voting." --Randee Webb, Aurora
"We voted to pass this and we live in a democracy where our vote sets the law" --Adrienne Pederson, Arvada
"Because everyone should know for sure that their vote is being counted correctly!" --Robert Mitton, Denver
"Ensuring clean and fair elections is the will of the people and is worth the small portion of the budget required." --Elaine Branjord, Fort Collins
"This is for a fair democracy." --Debra Taylor, Denver
"We want fair elections where money isn't the deciding factor." --Miguel Ceballos-Ruiz, Denver
"Fair elections not funded by corporate interests are vital for fiscal decisions to benefit the whole community/state/nation and not first and foremost big donors." --Mary Ann Diamond, Arvada
"Fair elections = Democracy." --Janet Feder, Denver
"We need to get the poison of big money out of Denver politics." --John Seifert, Denver
"It’s not that complicated. A true democracy is one that is funded by the citizenry, not by wealthy campaign contributors and corporate PACs. Politicians are accountable to those who fund them, just as you would expect in ANY transaction." --Noah Neumark, Denver
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