Connecticut’s Public Funding for Elections No Benefit for Independent Voices

Connecticut’s Public Funding for Elections No Benefit for Independent Voices

Letter to the Wall Street Journal:

As an independent candidate for governor of Connecticut, I agree with Nick Nyhart’s letter to the WSJ – we must encourage more choice and independent thinking in our candidates for public office. I have made a personal commitment to this.

Connecticut’s program for public funding of elections, unfortunately, has the opposite effect.

Party organizations can readily direct the necessary small donations to party favorites; not so with independent candidates who lack a machine, we must truly raise grass-roots support.

Independent candidates seeking public funding must also gather approximately 220,000 qualified signatures to qualify for public funding. Political insiders will tell you this is a fool’s errand. Gathering and qualifying these signatures requires a significant campaign organization; the candidate who gathers these signatures has probably already solved the funding equation – before receiving any public funds

Connecticut’s public funding law provides approximately $1.2 million to qualifying candidates for the primary and about $6.2 million for the general election. Because most independent candidates will not face a formal primary – but must still campaign throughout the season – this effectively underfunds independents compared to major party candidates. The public funding also becomes an effective floor for campaign financing – further increasing barriers to entry for independent voices.

On top of this, the public funding program compels voters to pay for the electioneering of candidates whom they may oppose!

Connecticut’s public funding for elections is structured to preserve and enhance the position of the major parties, not to encourage more diversity and choice. Voters should seek its repeal and put the money to work fixing our roads.

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