The Small Donor Elections program’s purpose is to eliminate actual or perceived corruption. Specifically, it is designed to ensure that government actions are taken in a manner that is consistent with what is best for everyone in the community, rather than for the benefit of wealthy campaign donors alone. Making the government accountable to everyone is strongly aligned with the City’s equity goals – race, disability, gender, income, neighborhood, citizenship/immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and other important measures of equity. The interests of these groups are rarely represented when only serving the interests of wealthy donors or when it is perceived that that is what local government does.
Further, the Small Donor Elections program is being carried out in a manner that is consistent with the City’s equity goals. Because one of the program goals over multiple election cycles is to increase political engagement across the City, care is being taken to ensure that implementation decisions are being handled in the most inclusive manner practicable.
It will take multiple election cycles before we have enough data to truly measure how the program is meeting these important goals. But we do have limited initial data from our first election cycle, in 2020, in the report linked below. And it will be reflected in performance measures in future budget requests as well as a public report every other year (to coincide with election cycles being every other year).
The SDE program will track demographic information of both donors and candidates that volunteer into the system. The data will be used to determine process improvement strategies in engaging not just communities of color and those with disabilities but with other marginalized communities as well.