campaign finance

The Truth About Voter Owned Elections and why Penny Rich is Participating

It is important to recognize that the goal of Voter Owned Elections is not simply to reign in campaign spending but to put government back into the hands of the public.  Voter Owned Elections help to ensure that politicians are accountable to the voters and not to well-funded special interest groups that donate large sums to campaigns.  Public campaign financing also ensures that marginalized groups, such as women, minorities and low-income citizens who may not have access to special interest funding or the ability to loan themselves large sums of money still have an opportunity to participate in the electoral process.

OCDP Forum on Voter Owned Elections at Chapel Hill Town Hall

The Orange County Democratic Party is hosting an information forum on Chapel Hill's new system of Voter Owned Elections. The party invites all residents to learn how potential candidates for public office can use this publicly financed system to help finance the costs of running for office. Introductory remarks will be made by Gene Nichol, former Dean of the UNC Law School. There will be additional presentations by Common Cause, Democracy North Carolina and a panel discussion.

The forum will be held Tuesday evening, June 23rd, at the Chapel Hill Town Council Chambers at 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., and will begin at 7pm. This event will last about an hour.

Carrboro residents are encouraged to attend as well to learn how this system works.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009 - 3:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC

Price's opponent BJ Lawson raises $170,000 in 24 hours

David Price's opponent in the November election, BJ Lawson, raised $170,000 yesterday in what is apparently a Congressional record for one-day totals in North Carolina. He has raised $237,000 total since David Price voted in favor of the Wall Street bailout bill last week.

Lawson says his latest polls have Price at less than 50% support in the Fourth District, compared to his usual winning percentage of more than 60%. With 10% of voters left undecided, is it possible Price is in trouble this election?

Lawson's Orange County coordinator, Rev. Ray McKinnon of Hillsborough, is a Democrat who campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the May primaries. Lawson has sent out mailings with testimonials from longtime Democrats who say they're voting for one Republican this year, the anti-war Lawson.

I've always considered David Price to be pretty entrenched, so I'm surprised at these polling numbers. With a staunch opposition to the war, corporate welfare and Congress passing bills it hasn't read, it seems Lawson is making this a contest.

I'm looking forward to their debate next Tuesday, October 14, at UNC. 


Public Hearing on Public Financing in Chapel Hill

Press release:


Wednesday, May 14, 7pm, Chapel Hill Town Hall

Last year, the town of Chapel Hill became the first municipality in the state authorized to create a Voter-Owned Elections program for local races

Now, the town of Chapel Hill is introducing such a proposal. It would allow grassroots candidates to run for mayor of town council while raising only $5 and $10, and $20 contributions from local residents

The town has put together draft legislation and will solicit feedback from Chapel Hillians at a public hearing on Wednesday, May 14th at 7pm. The meeting will be held at the Chapel Hill Town Hall located 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (Note: The Voter-Owned Elections section starts right at 7pm, so try and get there by 6:45. We’ll have talking points you can use).

NC Voters for Clean Elections has been working with the town of Chapel Hill for years to make this reform possible. Now that the proposal is being considered, it’s very important that we demonstrate public support.

If you are a resident of Chapel Hill or Orange County, please come to the public hearing and speak out in support of the Voter-Owned Elections initiative.

To read the proposed ordinance click here.

More about Voter Owned Elections: The proposed Chapel Hill program would allow community-supported candidates without access to wealth to competitively run for town office. It would invigorate small dollar participation by encouraging candidates to run solely with contributions between $5 and $20. It would provide a check on the campaign money chase and the escalating cost of elections by allowing candidates to spend more time listening to voters and less time fundraising from big donors. And it would reduce the influence of money and special interest groups, by giving candidates a meaningful way to run without these groups’ support. Finally, it would allow the public to have more ownership of the process, by turning campaigns and campaign financing into a public good.

For more information about the meeting, or if you have comments or suggestions on the proposal, please call Chase Foster at (919)521-4121 or contact him by email at


Wednesday, May 14, 2008 - 3:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Money talks

Thanks to The Independent Weekly for their recent article uncovering who is funding some of the most contentious local campaigns.

We already knew that statewide realtors and developer interests were funding the opposition to the Land Transfer Tax, including deceptive mailings and robocalls. Now we can see just how much money they are pouring in to fight this modest proposal. Fiona Morgan reports that the realtors had raised $234,239 as of April 28th.

The committee has spent $205,115 on direct mailings, polls and ads. With 95,805 registered voters in Orange County, that amounts to $2.14 spent per voter as of April 18, more than two weeks before the election.

- Independent Weekly: Orange: Sprawl lobby just says no to LTT, 4/30/08



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