A few updates from the election reform advocacy community:
***On Monday, Durham’s city council unanimously approved a resolution asking for state permission to pursue local public campaign financing options. With its adoption, Durham joins the cities of Raleigh, Wilmington, and Greenville, who have all passed similar resolutions in recent months. The resolutions ask the General Assembly to pass legislation that would give permission to municipalities with more than 50,000 residents to explore public campaign financing options for non-partisan municipal elections. A bill passed by the state House in 2009, HB-120, grants this authorization, but it awaits approval in the state Senate. Read Durham blogger Nate Aspenson’s take.
***A new poll by the NC Center for Voter Education finds that North Carolinians overwhelmingly support a campaign finance reform overhaul. According to the survey, 71 percent of voters favor a major overhaul to the state’s campaign finance system. Just 6 percent favor the status quo.
***A report from Bob Hall at Democracy NC highlights the success of North Carolina’s judicial program. For the first time ever, 100% of candidates have declared their intent to participate in the program. (Meanwhile in states like Alabama, the judicial campaign money chase continues unabated).
***A new report from the Institute on Money and State Politics has found that the 2008 election cycle was the most expensive on record for state races. Nationwide, more than $3 billion was spent (including candidates, parties, 527’s, and ballot initiatives). And for the first time spending on state legislative races broken the $1 billion mark (a 26% increase from 2004). In North Carolina, total state spending was just under $100 million, including $42 million for the Governor’s race. The Institute predicts, that the 2010 election cycle could set an even higher record.
***Erik Ose has a great Op-Ed in the Chapel Hill News about Chapel Hill’s successful Voter-Owned Elections program.