Seattle Election Initiative Aims to Take Big Money Out of Campaigns

This article was contributed by Rosalind Brazel, communications manager for Washington Community Action Network (Washington CAN!)

The Honest Elections Initiative campaign aims to take big money out of politics and give low income people a real voice in electing leaders who represent them.

On Monday, June 1, more than 32,000 signatures were delivered to the Seattle City Clerk. Initiative 122 would change the way City of Seattle campaigns are financed.

Seattle voters would receive vouchers, four of them for $25 each, that could be given to the candidates or campaigns of their choosing. I-122 would also set limits on the maximum contribution an individual could make to a campaign.

New lobbying, disclosure and enforcement measures are also infused into this initiative to amplify the voice of the voter. The funds would come from a property tax – about $8 a year for the average homeowner.

Washington CAN! Leader Chettie McAfee was a guest speaker at the Honest Elections press event outside Seattle City Hall on Monday.

“The interests of banks and big developers do not align with the interests of people like me: women, people of color, and people with low incomes. A system where money influences who becomes an elected official, is a system where money influences political priorities and the direction of this city.”

If the clerk validates at least 20,360 of the signatures submitted, I-122 will appear on the November ballot. If passed, this would be the only system of its kind in the U.S.