Chicago Voters Want to Curb Influence of Big Money, Empower Small Donors

Media Releases

Media Contacts
Abe Scarr

State Director, Illinois PIRG; Energy and Utilities Program Director, PIRG

Chicago Voters Overwhelmingly Support Fair Elections Ballot Question 79% to 21%

Illinois PIRG

Statement of Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr

“While some races – including the mayoral – are headed for runoffs, Chicago voters spoke loud and clear on one issue: it’s time to get big money out of our elections.

“Whether in races for Congress, Governor, or Mayor, we’ve seen an increasingly small circle of mega donors pour unprecedented amounts of big money in to our elections this year, drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens.

“While this year’s midterm elections were the most expensive in history, they were funded by a smaller number of donors than the previous midterm. Here in Chicago, our research found that the overwhelming majority of money fueling the Mayoral race came from a relatively small number of donors contributing at levels the average Chicagoan simply can’t afford. Just two percent of contributions to all mayoral candidates came from donors chipping in $150 or less.

“Chicagoans are calling for solutions. Programs to amplify the voices of small donors and incentivize candidates to fund their campaigns with small contributions raised from their own constituents are proven to work.

“The voters have spoken. Now it is up to our newly elected leaders to act.”