Legislation will Raise the Voices of Ordinary Citizens in our Democracy

Media Contacts
Abe Scarr

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

Statement of Abraham Scarr, Director, Illinois Public Interest Research Group

Illinois PIRG

“I applaud Senator Biss for introducing critical legislation to raise the voices of ordinary citizens in our democracy.

Over the past few election cycles, Illinois voters have grown sadly accustomed to seeing campaign fundraising and spending records broken, driven by unprecedented levels of support from an increasingly small number of mega-donors. This system, where the size of your wallet determines the strength of your voice, makes it difficult to impossible for candidates without personal wealth or large donor networks to compete. 

It does not have to be this way.  Matching small contributions with limited public funds can raise all our voices and help candidates win by reaching out to average voters, not just mega-donors.

Illinois voters have ample evidence that our democracy is not working as it should. Campaigns centered on building support from ordinary citizens, not just mega-donors, would be an important step in restoring trust in our system.”

For past research and analysis on the impact of big money on our elections and the potential for small donor matching systems in Chicago and Cook County Elections, see:

How Matching Funds Would Reshape the Cook County State’s Attorney Democratic Primary: http://illinoispirgedfund.org/reports/ilf/boosting-impact-small-donors-1 

Money in the 2015 Chicago Aldermanic Elections: http://illinoispirgedfund.org/reports/ilf/money-primary

Big Money, Money from Outside Chicago, Dominates Mayoral Race: http://illinoispirgedfund.org/reports/ilf/big-money-money-outside-chicago-dominates-mayoral-race

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