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Democracy Matters


Democracy Matters Change Elections, Change America Introduction Founder Adonal Foyle Born Canouan, St. Vincent & the Grenadines Was impoverished Age 15 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Democracy Matters

Democracy Matters
  • Change Elections, Change America

  • Founder Adonal Foyle
  • Born Canouan, St. Vincent the Grenadines
  • Was impoverished
  • Age 15 moved to
  • the USA

Adonal Foyle
  • Drafted 1st round by the Golden State Warriors.
  • Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Colgate University
  • Decided to use good fortunes for the betterment
    of society

Adonal Foyle
  • Saw the inherent inequality and injustice in the
    campaign finance system.
  • Felt that youth action was essential in any
    movement. Decided to start Democracy Matters.

Adonal Foyle
  • Democracy Matters informs and engages college
    students and communities in efforts to strengthen
    our democracy.
  • Focuses on money in politics and other
    pro-democracy reforms

Problems with Money in Politics
  • Real democracy on the other hand has to allow
    everyone an equal opportunity to influence
    political decisions, regardless of your race,
    gender or sexual preference, and regardless of
    your wealth. Adonal Foyle

Problems in Money and Politics
  • Must ask ourselves in our society,
  • Who rules?
  • Who has access?
  • For which people, groups, or interests is
    legislation made?

Problems in Money and Politics
  • 6 Main problems
  • The Wealth Primary
  • Money equals Victory
  • Not Everybody Gives
  • Campaign Dialing for Dollars
  • Common American is Shut Out
  • Current System Costs Taxpayers Money

Problems in Money and Politics
  • Only the wealthy can run or those with access to
  • Winners in 2002 - avg. House race 966,670, avg.
    Senate race 5,029,904 (Center for Responsive
  • The wealth primary - money is increasingly
    deciding who can run as a viable candidate.

Problems in Money and Politics
  • Money in campaigns is proportional to victory
  • Winners outspent losers in 2002 Senate races by
    21 (Center for Responsive Politics)

Problems in money and politics
  • Contributions do not come from large, diverse
  • 0.11 of U.S. adults -- were responsible for 83
    of all political contributions
  • 0.28 of U.S. adults -- gave contributions large
    enough to be itemized at all
  • Only 10 of campaign contributions come from zip
    codes with predominantly people of color

Problems in Money and Politics
  • Campaigns spend too much time chasing money
  • Do not meet constituents and focus less on
    learning their issues.
  • Not only didn't I talk to voters, the only time
    I saw them was on the elevator in a Center City
    Philadelphia building on my way to an office
    where I dialed for dollars, nearly every day.
    Peter H. Kostmayer-7term congressman

Problems in Money and Politics
  • The common American is shut out of the process
  • Not just in ability to run, but in access to
    politician and ability to influence legislation
  • "Senators and representatives, faced incessantly
    with the need to raise ever more funds to fuel
    their campaigns, can scarcely avoid weighing
    every decision against the questions, 'How will
    this influence my fundraising?' rather than 'How
    will this influence national interest?" Late
    Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ)

Problems in Money and Politics
Problems in Money and Politics
  • Privately financed elections cost taxpayers money
  • Corporate handouts Medicare Bill - Drug
    companies ripped off consumers
  • Lack of oversight Enron scandal, Tax evasion
    and tax cuts

Private Money in Specific Issues
  • The current system has had a dramatic influence
  • Environmental Causes
  • Health Care
  • Student Loans
  • Car Insurance

The Solution Clean Elections
  • Clean Money, Clean Elections Reform (a.k.a. Full
    Public Financing of Elections) is the solution
    that helps diminish all of the previously
    mentioned problems

The Solution Clean Elections
  • What is it?
  • Provides an option for a viable candidate to use
    public funding for the costs of a campaign
  • Views elections as a public good where the best
    possible candidate should have access to the
    system regardless of wealth

The Solution Clean Elections
  • How it works
  • To be eligible candidates show that they have
    broad support
  • Normally through signatures small 5 donations
    from registered voters in their district
  • Candidates receive funds for both primary and
  • If unopposed, amount is less
  • If outspent, amount raises incrementally

The Solution Clean Elections
  • Where does money come from?
  • No more taxes in many cases
  • Arizona receives funds in 5 ways
  • A 10 surcharge is imposed on all civil and
    criminal fines and penalties collected
  • An individual who files a state income tax return
    may designate a 5.00 contribution to the fund
  • The taxpayer may redirect portions of taxes owed
    to the fund
  • The 5 contributions collected by Clean Elections
  • Fines levied against candidates for failure to
    comply with campaign laws or rules

The Solution Clean Elections
  • The Benefits
  • Candidates spend more time with constituents,
    learning their issues and gaining grassroots
  • Candidates can state that they have taken no
    money from special interests
  • Candidates can produce legislation that focuses
    on their constituents.

The Solution Clean Elections
  • Current Clean Money systems
  • Arizona and Maine (state legislature, state-wide
  • North Carolina (judicial elections)
  • New Mexico (Public Regulation Commission)

The Solution Clean Elections
  • Results
  • Arizona
  • Clean Elections candidates now hold 10 out of 11
    state-wide offices
  • 49 of all state offices (statewide and
    legislative) are now held by Clean Election
  • Minorities represented just 16 of the total
    number of candidates, but 30 of the number of
    Clean Elections candidates

The Solution Clean Elections
  • Maine
  • 78 of Maines state legislature was elected with
    Clean Elections
  • 15 increase in number of legislative candidates
    in primaries, from 374 in 2000 to 429 in 2004
  • Maine became the first state in the country to
    pass a form of universal health care

Youths Role
  • The need for young adults grassroots movements
    and community service
  • Youth have been essential in every major social
  • Civil Rights
  • Disability Rights
  • Womens
  • Labor

Youths Role
  • Youth provide the energy and devotion to provide
    change and better our future
  • Campuses serve as ideal organizing institutions

The On-Campus Internship
  • Youth are not apathetic, just need outlets for
    action Adonal Foyle
  • Democracy Matters is about becoming active in
    society and promoting change

The On-Campus Internship
  • What you can do
  • Find out if your school has a chapter
  • email
  • Start your own
  • Become a paid campus intern
  • Similar to running a normal student organization
  • 8-10 hours a week
  • 750 a semester

The On-Campus Internship
  • Intern duties
  • Create a Democracy Matters chapter that works to
    get private money out of politics and people back
  • Build coalitions of student activists
  • Organize teach-ins
  • Train college students to run workshops
  • Coordinate with other colleges
  • Lobby and educate elected officials
  • Run petition drives and canvasses

The On-Campus Internship
  • Other activities
  • Organize a music festival
  • Start a radio show
  • Plan a conference
  • Host a debate
  • Perform guerrilla theater

The On-Campus Internship
  • "There is a problem, public financing is the
    answer, and Democracy Matters dispenses the
    resources and guidance to students in order for
    them to fix it. That opportunity is an amazing
    one." Shawn Cloonan, University of Texas at

Democracy Matters
  • Currently at 85 campuses
  • 25 states
  • Democracy Matters organizers have
  • Placed Clean Money reform on ballots
  • Written legislation for legislators
  • Started new pro-democracy non-profits

Democracy Matters
Democracy Matters