In Maryland's Montgomery County, if you wanted to run a campaign for public office funded by small donations from average people, you'd now have a fighting chance against the big-money candidates.

In 2018, candidates participating in the county's Public Election Fund received over 96 percent more small contributions than their peers, finds a report released by our research partner Maryland PIRG Foundation.

"We are building a democracy where everyone has equal opportunity to participate in county elections regardless of race, gender, age or income," said Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr. "With the small donor program, Montgomery County is helping ensure county government is accountable to residents, not wealthy special interests."

To receive the Montgomery Public Election Fund's limited matching funds, participating candidates choose to forgo donations from large donors. Instead, they may accept contributions of between $5 and $150 from individual donors, which the county matches through the public fund.

Read Maryland PIRG's press release.

Photo: Since Montgomery County instituted its Public Election Fund in 2014, Howard County, Washington D.C., Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel County have established similar programs. Credit: Vox Efx via Flickr, CC BY 2.0