“What if ABQ could take our elections out of the hands of big special interests and put them in the hands of the people?”
The ABQ Democracy Dollars initiative is a cutting-edge endeavor to achieve more equitable participation in Albuquerque’s municipal elections (turnout typically lower than 30%) and improve the competitiveness of grassroots-oriented candidates.
The system would sit on top of the city’s existing “block grant” public financing of city candidates and would send $25.00 coupons to every eligible city resident, so that they could donate to city candidates. The proposed system (aka “Burque Bucks”) strives to return agency to under-represented voices, raise the floor of political speech in the city, and literally put democracy back in the hands of everyday people. (In the 2017 mayoral election, an estimated 350 donors accounted for 75% of total private campaign contributions in Albuquerque.)
Machinations by some of the Bernalillo County Commissioners thwarted the will of nearly 28,000 voters who signed a petition to place ABQ Democracy Dollars on the November general election ballot. As a result, the coalition of community groups behind Democracy Dollars is currently hard at work with the Mayor’s Office and the Albuquerque City Council to make sure those voters’ voices are heard. Whether Democracy Dollars is a special election ballot initiative in early 2019 or resolution is achieved via other means is unknown at this time.
We will post updates here as they become available.
From Campaign Director, Javier Benavidez:
- We thank all of our supporters who’ve helped get this transformational democratic initiative this far and we vow to not give up against the entrenched high dollar interests behind its obstruction.
- A fantastic article on the proposal was published on The Atlantic Weekly’s Next City section on Friday, Sept. 7th, 2018: CLICK HERE to read.
- The endeavor is being watched by a good number of democracy reform advocates across the country and once successful, we look forward to Albuquerque serving as a national model for a Democracy Dollars program that significantly impacts voter participation and helps confront the over-influence of big money in local politics.
- Please like our Facebook page– check it for the latest developments and for how to get involved!
ABQ Democracy Dollars is the brainchild of a coalition of community groups that includes Common Cause, OLE, NM WFP, Equality New Mexico, and the Center for Civic Policy.