Small Donors Will Fund Tallahassee 2016 Elections

<p>Stack of dollar bills / Tom Bullock / Flickr</p>

Stack of dollar bills / Tom Bullock / Flickr

Today’s reminder that reform isn’t just about winning an election! 

Tallahassee, Florida, where a Tea Party/progressive grassroots alliance passed strong new ethics rules and citizen-funding of elections, is officially turning on the engine of their new system. The 2014 ballot initiative was backed by 67 percent of voters, and is proof that the push for a stronger democracy transcends party lines.

Back when it was passed, the goals of the new system were simple and had bipartisan appeal: broaden participation of small donors in the funding of elections, increase civic participation and reduce corruption. All three goals are well on their way to success.

Now, eligible voters will receive tax refunds for political donations, while capping contributions to city officials at $250. Plus, a new ethics board will oversee the implementation of new rules that will prevent conflicts of interest and crack down on people who break them.

“We are excited to roll out this program, which is the first of its kind in the nation. The goal of the program is to get individual donors who couldn’t otherwise afford to donate to a candidate engaged in the process,” said Julie Meadows-Keefe, an official on the newly established ethics board.

Are you a Tallahassee voter? If so, here’s what you need to do to get in on all the action!

-Be a registered elector of the City of Tallahassee at the time the contribution was made;
-Contribute to a filed candidate for City office in the calendar year the election occurs; and
-Complete a Refund Claim form and provide official receipts from the candidate’s principal campaign committee by January 15, 2017.