Electoral Reform


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In 1757, George Washington spent about $195 for food and drinks to help win election to the Virginia House of Burgesses. This practice of using money or gifts to influence the outcome of an election would soon be abolished by the Virginia legislature, but it remains an important issue for today’s legislators. All 50 states regulate the way money is spent in politics and elections, publishing entire code sections dedicated to providing accountability and transparency in this area.

The cost of elections and campaigns continues to rise, and candidates are forced to rely on contributions from the private sector to fund the ever-increasing costs. Seen by many as a natural extension of an individual’s freedom of speech, using money to influence elections troubles those who believe money can have a corruptive influence on candidates. State legislators wishing to change their state’s campaign finance laws must be sensitive to these separate views, while adhering to the principles set forth by Supreme Court decisions that further alter the role of money in politics.
state campaign finance laws: an overview


Truth Out – Electoral Revolution in Brazil Aimed at Neutralizing Corporate Influence

Common Dreams – Six Ways Forward to Reform Our Democracy for a Better Food System

Duke University – Clean Elections: How has public election funding in Maine and Arizona influenced the behavior of non-candidate political factors

NY Times – The Only Realistic Way to Fix Campaign Finance

Latin America vs Citizens United

Brookings – The Cost of Democracy: Campaign Finance Regulation in Latin America

Prospect – How Our Campaign Finance System Compares to Other Countries

NY Times – Britain’s Campaign Finance Laws Leave Parties With Idle Money

What America Can Learn From Norway’s Success in Regulating Campaign Finance

CNN – International campaign finance: How do countries compare?

Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance – Political Finance

Truth Out – Campaign Financing: Can the US Follow Europe’s Example?

Think Progress – Three Electoral Reforms That Would Improve And Enrich Our System Of Representative Democracy

Bill Moyers – Missouri Could Be the Show-Down State for Money in Politics This Fall

Trib Talk – How to make Texas government less transparent

Texas Tribune – Texas High Court Carves “Monstrous Loophole” for Government Secrets