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Elections can be cheap and clean
Great letter to the editor in the Des Moines Register

There was a great letter to the editor in the May 31, 2006 Des Moines Register. CCI member Alice Bryan did a great job rebutting Des Moines Register policitcal columnist David Yepsen's assertion that true campaign reform cannot happen.

Elections can be cheap and clean
Apparently David Yepsen doesn’t have a lot of time to do research before writing his columns. He has some concerns about [Ed Fallon’s plan for] campaign-finance reform.

Even a little research by Yepsen would have revealed states that are already successfully using clean elections (with voluntary public financing). Maine and Arizona have used the system for three full election cycles and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. More people have the chance to run for office because they care about their communities, not because they can raise a lot of money. More people are voting, and it’s an easy system to understand.

Candidates gather a set number of signatures and $5 contributions from within their district in order to prove their viability. Who separates serious candidates from “kooks”? The voters do, not columnists or big-money contributors. That is, after all, what our electoral process is all about.

North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Connecticut and the cities of Albuquerque, N.M., and Portland, Ore., have also established similar systems. And the cost? Well, in Iowa we could have a similar system for around $5 per registered voter.

My $5 each year would mean the people running in my district to represent me would never have to take money from special interests again. It seems pretty reasonable.

And who knows how much money our state would discover when we no longer felt obligated to hand out enormous tax breaks or refused to close obvious loopholes. We could find we have a lot more to spend on schools, health care, corrections and the environment. That’s why Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and other groups have been pushing for voter-owned elections in Iowa. It is a vital step in Iowans reclaiming our democracy.
— Alice Bryan, Des Moines.

Do you have 8-10 friends who want to learn more about Voter-Owned Elections and would consider supporting Phase II of our “Money and Elections in Iowa” with a financial gift? Hold a house party! For more information contact Adam at 515/282-0484 or

Posted 5/31/06

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