California Common Cause / November 9, 2022
Victory for the reform measure, which creates an innovative Democracy Dollars program and increases political ad transparency
OAKLAND, CA – Voters overwhelmingly approved Measure W in Oakland today, signaling a desire for a more participatory, responsive, and accountable local democracy. With anti-democratic forces on the march around the nation, Oakland is pushing back.
Measure W creates a Democracy Dollars program to revolutionize campaign financing for local elections. It will enable all eligible Oaklanders to receive four $25 vouchers to support local political candidates of their choice, making every household a potential donor household and bringing power back to the people.
“For too long, our elections have been funded by wealthy special interests and out of state donors. In recent years, over half of money raised by city council and school board candidates was from people who don’t even live in Oakland. Measure W will empower Oaklanders to have a bigger influence, and ensure candidates are listening to voters rather than special interests.” – Liz Suk, Oakland Rising
Measure W will also increase transparency on independent expenditure political ads, extend the ban on revolving door lobbying, decrease political contribution caps, and ensure Oaklanders have real power to advocate for the things our city needs: affordable housing, safe streets, better schools, and a government that is responsive to the people.
“We’re already hearing from reformers in other cities who are inspired by our victory tonight in Oakland. Democracy Dollars represents the future of campaign finance reform, and I’m proud that Oakland is helping to lead the way.” – Jonathan Mehta Stein, California Common Cause
“By requiring candidates to participate in public debates, Oaklanders will have more opportunity to develop a better understanding of the candidates’ plans for the issues that impact their lives–like housing, community safety, and public schools–and allocate their democracy dollars vouchers accordingly” – Ashley Morris, ACLU of Northern California
“In an era of money-dominated politics, Oakland voters showed the way forward by passing the Fair Elections Act today. The democracy dollars program gives every citizen the means to back candidates of their choice. Candidates can run for office and win being focused on the voters, rather than big campaign donors. Oakland will soon be electing the best leaders, regardless of whether they are the best fundraisers.” – Daniel G. Newman, Maplight
Fair Elections Oakland is a broad and diverse coalition backed by the 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 more. We believe that Oaklanders deserve representatives that represent all of us, regardless of income or background. We are committed to bringing fairness and transparency to local elections, so that our representatives focus on what our community needs rather than what special interests want. For more information about Fair Elections Oakland visit: https://fairelectionsoakland.org