Baltimore Fair Elections
Elected officials should care about all of the communities they represent, not just large donors and corporations. Yet, the power of big money and corporate interests have made our elections less democratic and representative of community interests. Luckily, there is a solution to make our local elections more democratic: establishing a Fair Elections program.
A Fair Elections program can: keep big money out of our elections, expand opportunities to run for office, provide equal opportunity to participate in elections, and encourage more participation in our elections through matching funds.
Jews United for Justice is part of two Fair Elections coalitions in Baltimore, one in Baltimore City and one in Baltimore County. For more information about our work with these coalitions, or to get involved in our Fair Elections campaigns in Baltimore City or County, contact Rachel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For campaign updates in each jurisdiction, see below.
Establishing a Fair Elections program in Baltimore City began as a ballot initiative, in order to first receive authorization from the public to create such a program.
In 2018, Baltimore voters overwhelmingly supported Ballot Question H, which authorized the establishment of a Fair Elections Fund through public financing. This paved the way for a Fair Elections bill to be introduced, to establish how the program would work.
In 2019, Councilman Kristerfer Burnett introduced a Fair Elections bill, which passed out of City Council and was signed into law by the Mayor. Councilman Burnett worked diligently with the Fair Elections coalition to ensure that the bill was comprehensive.
Councilman Burnett’s Fair Elections bill established how a Fair Elections program would work in Baltimore City, but a second bill will be required to specify how the program will be funded.
Councilman Burnett introduced the funding bill in early March 2020; however, once the COVID-19 pandemic began, the bill was tabled.
This Fair Elections program is crucial for Baltimore City elections to become more democratic and fair, and the coalition is fully expecting to return to this work soon.
Voters had the option to establish a Fair Elections program in Baltimore County by voting “yes” on Question A on their 2020 ballots. And, it passed!
This was the first step towards fully implementing a Fair Elections program in Baltimore. Now, the coalition and County Council will work on establishing the program.