Fair Elections is a practical, proven reform that puts voters in control of elections. Rather than being forced to rely on special interest donors to pay for their campaigns, candidates have the opportunity to raise small donations from their grassroots base to qualify for Fair Elections funding, which ends their reliance on special interest campaign cash. Being freed from the money chase means they have more time to spend with constituents, talking about issues that matter to them. When they enter office, they can consider legislation on the merits, without worrying about whether they are pleasing well heeled donors and lobbyists. Fair Elections would return our government to one that is of, by, and for the people—not bought and paid for by special interests.
In the U.S. Congress, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Reps. John Larson (D-Connecticut), Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) introduced the Fair Elections Now Act in 2009, which would create a system of Fair Elections for candidates for Congress. The bill in the House had more than 160 co-sponsors and passed the Committee on House Administration in September 2010.
The Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 269) was re-introduced in the 113th Congress on January 15, 2013 in the House of Representatives.
In addition, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Maryland) introduced the Government By The People Act in the 113th Congress on February 5, 2014. The bill would empower everyday Americans to particpate, amplify their voices, and fight back against big money special interests. The bill currently has 159 co-sponsors.
There are also Fair Elections-style laws in seven states and three cities: Arizona; Connecticut; Maine; Hawaii; New Mexico; North Carolina; Wisconsin; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Activists across the country are working to advance full public financing of elections.