Supporters of publicly financed elections are using revelations from the State Board of Elections hearings into former Gov. Mike Easley to push their cause.
In publicly financed elections, taxpayer dollars provide candidates with money for advertising and campaigning. To qualify, candidates must demonstrate they have a minimum base of support and must agree to spending limits and restrictions on fundraising.
Municipal elections in Chapel Hill, appellate judge races and some Council of State races use the system.
That's exactly the type of election the state needs in the wake of revelations that Easley's gubernatorial campaign planned to funnel money through the N.C. Democratic Party to circumvent the state's campaign finance limits, said Chase Foster, director of N.C. Voters for Clean Elections.
"More and more, North Carolina leaders see Voter-Owned Elections as the obvious answer to the rising cost of elections,” Foster said in a news release.
Foster released a scorecard tracking votes on publicly financed elections bills. Foster said the scorecard shows that lawmakers are increasingly supportive of the election changes.
A bill that would create a pilot program for more publicly financed municipal elections cleared the House this year. The Senate approved a bill that would expand the program to more Council of State races.
Opponents to such elections say taxpayers would be forced to fund political speech, and that political contributions would instead be given to special interest groups to spend.