County Council Resolution 1-22 proposed an amendment to the County Charter to establish an optional public campaign financing system for candidates for Anne Arundel County Executive and County Council. County Council failed to pass the resolution, denying county voters the opportunity to decide for themselves this November.
Your help is needed to get the 10,000 signatures required to have the public campaign finance amendment on the ballot in November. Please click here to download the petition. It's important to print the petition so that it is double-sided, with the signature spaces on one side, and the amendment text on the other. One sheet has spaces for 5 signatures. Please ask Anne Arundel County registered voters in your household, workplace and community to sign the petition. As the petition circulator, you will complete the information at the bottom of the form.
Mail the completed form(s) to Abby Root, LWVAAC Action, P. O. Box 35, Arnold, MD 21012. Contact [email protected] if you have any questions.
The goal is to collect the required number of signatures by the end of July so each can be verified and the petition process completed by August.
Read on for more information about the charter amendment and the League's support for public campaign financing.
In February, the LWVAAC testified in support of County Council Resolution 1-22, an amendment to the County Charter to require the establishment of a public campaign financing system for candidates for County Executive and the County Council. If passed by a super majority (at least 5 of the 7 Council members), the proposed amendment to the Charter would have appeared on the November 2022 ballot to let the voters decide. Unfortunately, the resolution did not pass. As a result, a petition drive to put the question on the November ballot is underway with the guidance of several organizations, including LWVAAC, Fair Maps Maryland, and Common Cause Maryland, and supported by a $75,000 grant.
By requiring the County to establish a public campaign financing system, this charter amendment seeks to level the playing field for candidates of diverse backgrounds and means. If voters approve the amendment, participation in public financing will be optional and the County Council will determine the details of how the system will operate.
LWVAAC’s support for public campaign financing is based on a LWVUS position. The national study found that a public financing system requires candidates to raise money from a large number of small contributors rather than a few large donors. Alternate methods of financing political campaigns help to ensure the public’s right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office, and promote citizen participation in the political process.
Public campaign financing amplifies the voices of regular people and reduces the influence of big money on elections. Since 2014 when the Maryland Legislature made it possible for counties to adopt a campaign finance system, five jurisdictions have done so: Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, and Baltimore Counties, as well as Baltimore City.