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How Voter-Owned Elections has worked in other statesFrequently Asked Questions about clean electionsLegislation on Clean Elections

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In the 2007 legislative session, Representative Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) introduced the Iowa 'Clean Elections' Act. This bill would establish a 'Voter-Owned Elections' system in Iowa. Senator Mike Connolly (D-Dubuque) introduced a companion bill in the Senate. *Clean Elections and Voter Owned are two names for the same thing.

Below is a summary of House File 805 and Senate File 553 from the 2007 legislative session. Both passed out of committee, a historic step for Iowa! We expect to see even more progress in the next legislative session.

Eligibility for candidates - candidates must agree not to accept or spend private contributions, including their own money. Candidates are required to gain grassroots support of their candidacy by collecting signatures and qualifying contributions from residents.

Qualifying Contributions - a participating candidate is required to collect a specified number of $5 qualifying contributions and signatures from legal adult residents in the district where they are running for office.

  • Governor: $5 donations and signatures from 500 voters in each of Iowa's 5 Congressional Districts.
  • Statewide candidates other than Governor: $5 donations and signatures from 250 voters in each of Iowa's 5 Congressional Districts.
  • State Senate: $5 donations and signatures from 200 voters in their Senate District.
  • State House: $5 donations and signatures from 100 voters in their House District.
    Donations are collected from candidates and deposited into the Voter-Owned Elections Fund.

Seed Money - A limited amount of “seed money” donations can be raised and spent by candidates during the “exploratory period” where candidates work to collect the required signatures and qualifying contributions. Seed money donations cannot exceed $100.

Funding for participating candidates - Participating candidates receive a designated amount of funding to use for direct campaign purposes. Candidates can also receive additional funds to match any excess expenditure amount spent by a nonparticipating opposing candidate or independent target, including PAC and 527 spending.

Fundraising - a participating candidate is prohibited from soliciting or receiving political contributions for any other candidate, political party, or other political committee.

Voter Information Program - The board overseeing the system shall establish and administer a voter information program that would educate voters about candidates, even those not participating in the Voter-Owned System.

The full text of HF 805 is available on the web. You can check it by clicking here. For the full text of SF 553, click here.

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