Thursday, May 12, 2011

A "mahalo" to county councillors, and a kick-off for preserving Hawaiian fair elections

A pilot Fair Elections law in Hawaii County, Hawaii provides a public funding option for county council elections. On Tuesday, citizens and students gathered in Hilo to thank the current county council for their support of the current law, and draw attention to the need to continue the program past the current 2014 expiration date.

A $3 voluntary tax checkoff funds the program, and the collected funds are used to match small donations, explained Dr. Noelie Rodriguez, a sociology professor at Hilo Community College, and a member of AfD, who helped organize the gathering. “I am grateful to the County Council members who pushed for this critically important reform that can restore our democracy. It is the reform that makes all the other reforms possible.”

Hawaii's Big Island pilot program is similar to public campaign funding in Arizona, and aspects of Arizona's law will be up for a legal challenge to be heard by the Supreme Court. But Hawaii fair elections advocates say they have replacement language to insert into their law if the court rules against fair elections in Arizona.

You can watch video of the gathering here, and read more about the Hawaiian program.

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