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Montgomery County Funds Groundbreaking Fair Elections Program

$1 million investment in first year is strong start, strong commitment
For Immediate Release

(Rockville) - The Montgomery County Council took an important step forward for fair elections in its FY16 budget by seeding the Public Campaign fund with a $1 million.

“Montgomery County made history by unanimously passing Bill 16-14, creating the first program in Maryland for small-donor fair elections,” said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland.  “We praise the action Council took today. They showed strong support for this critical program, and backed up their words with strong action.”

“This $1 million investment is a down-payment for a stronger democracy. The community has been clear at these public hearings; they are counting on the Council now to follow through and fund this program. This critical first investment ensures that the program can be effective,” said Kate Planco Waybright, executive director of Progressive Maryland.

“In our democracy, the depth of your pocket should not dictate the volume of your voice,” said Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr. “We’re thrilled that the Montgomery County Council demonstrated their commitment to getting big money out of local elections by making strong first investment in their small donor matching program.”

“The Montgomery County Council set a great precedent for the state of Maryland and the country last year when it unanimously passed Fair Elections legislation that pushes back against the Roberts Court's Citizen United decision. Today, they went further, allocating $1,000,000 for the new Fair Elections Fund. In an era of big money politics, this decision ensures the voices of ordinary people will be heard in Montgomery County elections,” said Nick Nyhart, president & CEO of Every Voice Center.

Concerned citizens had testified at the budget hearings, calling on the County Council to put $2 million into the budget to fund fair elections (Public Election Fund). The Government Operations committee recommended adding $2 million into the reconciliation budget to support this critical program.

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