Public Funding of Elections Part II

Pursuant to my calls for an American Labor Party, I'm calling for the public funding of elections.


Democracy Grants

For Liberals: It's the people buying politicians, not special interests.

For Conservatives: You're buying your politicians, not special interests.

How do?

I was inspired by the grant system in Connecticut, so I thought about adapting it to Iowa.

Iowa has a population of 3,155,070 people (allegedly). For simplicity, we'll round up to 3.2 Million. Iowa also has 100 state representatives in the Iowa House and 50 senators in the Iowa Senate. The representatives serve 2 year terms and are up for election in every even-numbered year (e.g. 2014). The senators serve 4 year terms and have staggered election cycles (e.g. Half of senators would be elected in 2006, the other half in 2008, and the first group would be up for re-election in 2010, the second group would be up for re-election in 2012).

If we divide the population by the number of representatives/senators, you get 32,000 and 64,000 constituents, respectively.

To prove that a candidate has support among their constituents, a prospective state elected representative would have to raise money from at least 1% of their constituents, averaging $10 per constituent (or more).

At this point, the candidates could decline or refuse the grant. The grant would be $1 for each constituent in their area of representation ($32k for representatives, $64k for senators, $3.2M for gubernatorial, state AG, state secretary, treasurer, auditor, and ag commissioner races each. If a candidate accepts the grant, they could not accept total donations from people greater than the size of the grant.

Every 4 years, the full Senate would be up for election, the House would be up for election twice, and each of the 6 statewide races would be up for election. If we assume 2 candidates receive the grants in each race (some might have 3 candidates, some might have 1 candidate, I'll assume it all evens out to 2, I guess), the total would come to:

  • Iowa House: $12.8M per 4 years
  • Iowa Senate: $6.4M per 4 years
  • Iowa State Executives: $38.4M per 4 years
  • Total: $57.6M every 4 years
  • $14.4M would have to be saved every year to fund this program