Oakland Fair Elections
Campaign Status: Victory
- Democracy dollars (four $25 vouchers per voter to donate to qualifying local candidates of their choice)
- Lower contribution limits ($600 for individuals and $1200 for committees)
- Close the revolving door (limits on lobbying by former elected officials for 3 years post-service)
- Increase donor transparency (require top 3 donors to be disclosed on political ads)
Historically, Oakland’s elections have been disproportionately supported by large donors. In the last four elections, the candidates who have raised the most money won most of the races. An analysis done by Maplight found that only half of election fundraising came from Oakland residents. Oakland Fair Elections formed to build a local government that prioritizes the needs of all Oakland residents rather than wealthy special interests.
Oakland Fair Elections is a large coalition consisting of grassroots base-building organizations across the Bay Area that is working to enact real change and bring greater transparency and accountability to the City of Oakland. They are joined in this effort by ACLU of Northern California, California Common Cause, League of Women Voters Oakland, Oakland Rising, Bay Rising, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, MapLight, and RepresentUs.
The Common Wealth is a community of people across the country who have made a commitment to building a democracy that works for everyone. By making a generous gift each month, they directly support the fight to fix our broken political system: city by city, state by state.
100% of donations support the front lines of the movement.
Oakland passes Measure W to implement Democracy Dollars, lower contribution limits, add limits to lobbying by former elected officials, and increase donor transparency.
City Council passes the initiative in early July for voter approval in November.
The Oakland Fair Elections coalition begins education and local outreach efforts ahead of a planned ballot initiative for “Democracy Dollars,” a program that seeks to boost small donations and incentivize candidates to appeal to wider swaths of city residents, as well as enable less-affluent candidates to run competitively for office against those with wealthy donor networks.
The Latest From This Campaign
Ballot measures will change how democracy is practiced in many states
Nov 9 2022
The voters of Oakland, Calif., are on the way to using “Democracy Dollars” after overwhelmingly approving a plan to provide $100 in vouchers that can be used to fund local campaigns.Read More
Oakland wants to give voters money to make campaign contributions
Jul 12 2022
“If we want to increase democracy, if we want more people who are organizers in their communities to run for office, people who wouldn’t typically have the platform, or the capacity or the ability to run and win, this helps that happen,” Councilmember Carroll Fife said at the meeting.Read More
Supporting Democracy Dollars Is a Powerful Way Funders Can Protect Local Elections
Jun 16 2022
Bucking the trend, the City of Oakland is experimenting with an idea that might serve to strengthen participation, representation and racial justice. Oakland’s Rx for our ailing democracy? A “Democracy Dollars” initiative that provides residents with vouchers they can use to direct publicly funded contributions to the candidates of their choice.Read More
Oakland Community Groups Launch Campaign to Fight Big Money in Elections
Mar 11 2022
The Fair Elections Oakland coalition has launched an effort to pass a public campaign financing program—called "Democracy Dollars"—like the vouchers used in Seattle elections since 2017.Read More