Morning Poll: Is Arizona Better Off Without Matching Funds?

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The United States Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the matching funds provision of Arizona's Clean Elections law is unconstitutional.

The matching funds portion of the law was designed to give the little guy a fighting chance in state and local elections when faced against a candidate capable of raising a lot of money.

Under the matching funds system, publicly funded candidates are given lump sums for their campaigns. If an opponent spends his or her own money, and exceeds the initial lump sum, "clean" -- or publicly funded -- candidates get matching funds from taxpayers to level the playing field.

However, Governor Jan Brewer was a "clean" candidate set to receive loads of taxpayer cash under the system in last year's GOP primary. Then the Supreme Court put a halt to the program last June so it had a chance to review its constitutionality.

Also in the GOP gubernatorial primary with Brewer last year was businessman Owen "Buz" Mills, who dumped nearly $3 million of his own money into his campaign. Because Mills made it rain, Brewer stood to reap nearly $1.4 million in public funds for her campaign.

After signing SB 1070, Jan Brewer was hardly the little guy the program was intended to help.

Jan Brewer, however, isn't why the Supreme Court took issue with matching funds. Rather, it found the program violates a candidate's right to free speech. It agreed with the Goldwater Institute, which contends the program inhibits a privately funded candidate's fundraising and spending, plus limits what voters will hear about the campaign because there's no incentive for a privately funded candidate to raise and spend money on things like campaign ads when it would benefit that candidate's "clean" opponent.

As far as democracy goes, it seems like a pretty flawed system, if you ask us, but we want to know what you think: is Arizona better off without matching funds?

Cast your vote below.


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8 comments
Daniel Losey
Daniel Losey

It's unfortunate that Brewer, Solar Team, Dale, and their ilk benefit so clearly through Clean Elections, much to the public detriment; but the system has (had?) the potential to help more than hurt. I fail to see how a millionaire's "free speech" can be infringed solely because the underdog may be heard. Return matching funds -- at the very least, we disillusioned may find entertainment with the increase in negative political ads.

lzs
lzs

 Yesooo, I am proud of my natural black lace wigs, but there is no way that I am ready to spend 3 hours or more of my life through the rigors of making it presentable. My hair is natural all the way (I do relax my front wigsand never have) but there is not much I can do with natural hair shoulder length without looking like a woman parading newly disturbed "Ahiaeke. " I give kudos to thoes who have no qualms to relax their hair extensions or thoes who spend up to 6 hours braiding wigs and keep for months without washing every week.

ligang44
ligang44

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Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Let's keep the system like it is now.    Only the person with the most money or campaign contributions can win.    It's always been a fair way to determine an election.    That way none of us lowly common people can ever be elected to anything.    Only the rich know what's best for us and as they intuitively guide us through our useless lives.

RetiredArmy
RetiredArmy

This ruling just shows how morally and intellectually corrupt the majority of this court is. How in the world can you equate money to speech. Money is not free, if it is, please tell me where I can get some of that free money. Speech on the other hand can be freely exercised, and anyone within listening range is free to hear or ignore the speech. That and the fact that money is regulated and issued by the government. The government in fact can decide how much money you can control through the tax code and other means. So now speech really is controlled by the government or actually, those who own it.   

Roro
Roro

There are already too many races that go uncontested. When you look at your ballot, and for an office it says "Pick One" and there's only one person running it reminds you of the old style Russian elections..... one party, one candidate.

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