HOW DO DEMOCRACY DOLLARS DIFFER FROM OTHER PUBLIC FINANCING PROGRAMS?
The Democracy Dollars Program is unique in two ways.
First, the “public” funds go directly to voters. Candidates have to engage their constituents to get those voters to assign the Democracy Dollars to them, to secure the public funding. Other public funding programs in the give funds directly to candidate campaigns regardless of their level of community support.
Second, every registered voter has the opportunity to participate in the program. With other public funding programs, only voters with the funds to donate can participate.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Democracy Dollars are simple. Each coupon is good for a $25 contribution to a candidate you choose. Just give the coupon to the candidate you support, or fill it in and mail it back to the City Clerk. No one else can use your coupon—it’s custom-made just for you!
HOW DO WE PAY FOR IT?
Currently there are ongoing discussions to determine if the Democracy Dollars program would be funded from the city's General Fund at a cost of $6 per resident of the City of San Diego (0.3% of the proposed annual budget) or if the Initiative could add a special property tax assessment of 3.6 cents/$1000 valuation .
WHO GETS TO USE THEM?
This program will be as inclusive as possible—just like elections should be! Registered voters will get coupons in the mail automatically. Citizens who register to vote after Democracy Dollars are distributed can get their certificates by applying to the City Clerk .
WHAT CANDIDATES ARE ELIGIBLE?
Only the candidates who have qualified to use the public financing program and agree to the restrictions can redeem Democracy Dollars.
HOW MUCH CAN CANDIDATES RAISE?
Based on the 2010 US Census, the amount of Democracy Dollars a candidate could redeem per an election cycle would be approximately:
Mayor Primary $600,000 General $1,000,000
City Attorney Primary $450,000 General $900,000
City Council Primary $115,000 General $190,000
I LOST MY CERTIFICATE. NOW WHAT?
There will be a process to replace your certificates if misplaced.
WHAT’S TO PREVENT FRAUD OR ABUSE?
Candidates using Democracy Dollars can only spend them on campaign activities as defined by City code. They report every dollar they raise and spend, so the City Clerk and the public can see where their money is going.
IF EACH REGISTERED VOTER (approximately 735,000 voters) GETS $100 IN DEMOCRACY DOLLARS THEN WOULDN'T THE PROGRAM COST $73 MILLIONS PER ELECTION?
There is a cap to the total amount of Democracy Dollars any candidate can receive. So, it is the number of qualified candidates, not the number of voters, that determines the potential cost of the program .
Not every person who gets Democracy Dollars will assign them to candidates. The program has been developed assuming 10 times as many eligible voters will donate with Democracy Dollars as did in the last election with traditional financing.
If an unusually high number of candidates qualify, the Program Administrator could (1) set a lower cap for the total number of Democracy Dollars any candidate can redeem, (2) reduce the value of each certificate or (3) both, to keep the costs of the program within the allocated budget.