Clean Elections

For the latest on our 501-c-3 non-partisan Clean Elections campaign, please visit wvoter-owned.org

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Judge Ruling in Favor of Big Contributor Ruled Illegal by U.S. Supreme Court

Quick Action For Clean Elections!

We now have a sample letter which you can send to your West Virginia legislators asking them to support public campaign financing. We frequently hear from the legislators that they do not receive calls and emails from their constituents on this issue, so we ask your help in changing that! The email letter will allow you to contact your legislators quickly - it takes only a couple of minutes. You can also sign our petition, and register to receive updates from WV Citizens for Clean Elections, if you have not already done so. Please click here to contact your legislators!

Video: "Clean Elections, Changing the Face of America"


As a founding member of the West Virginia People’s Election Reform Coalition (PERC-WV) and a leader in the study of state campaign contributions, WV-CAG supports the Clean Money approach of public financing for elections.  While the term “clean elections” may seem like an oxymoron, particularly in West Virginia, WV-CAG is proud to be part of a coalition that is dedicated to reducing the influence of special interests in our political process.  As part of Citizens for Clean Elections, we have been working closely with Common Cause-WV, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, the West Virginia Environmental Council and other coalition partners to promote the West Virginia Clean Elections Act.  You can find out much more about our campaign and coalition partners by visiting Citizens for Clean Elections.

The Clean Elections Act is a comprehensive approach to campaign finance reform that will provide full public funding to candidates who agree to limit their spending and reject all private donations.  Modeled after laws in Arizona and Maine, the West Virginia Clean Elections Act would establish a voluntary, “voter-owned system where candidates qualify for public financing by collecting signatures and $5 donations from supporters and agreeing not to take special interest money or spend any of their own. 

Clean Elections in Practice

In Maine and Arizona, public financing of elections has been an overwhelming success. Nearly 80% of Maine legislative candidates ran “clean” in the November 2004 general election, and 83% of the Maine Senate and 77% of the Maine House are composed of legislators who participated in the Clean Elections system.  In Arizona, 10 of 11 statewide elected officials, including the governor, attorney general, treasurer and the entire Corporations Commission were elected under Clean Elections.  58% of the Arizona House of Representatives and 23% of the Arizona Senate are composed of legislators who chose public financing in 2004. 

Clean Elections laws are now on the books in seven states: in Arizona, Connecticut, and Maine for all state elections; in North Carolina for judicial elections; in New Mexico for the Public Regulation Commission; in Vermont for governor and lieutenant-governor races; and in New Jersey, where there was a legislative pilot program in effect for 2005 and is up for renewal for the 2007 cycle. Publicly financed elections were also passed in 2005 in Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In Clean Elections states amazing things are happening.  Clean Elections has:

  • Freed candidates from fundraising. Once a candidate qualifies for public financing, he/she can focus on issues and constituent service, rather than soliciting campaign contributions.
  • Increased electoral competition and voter choice by leveling the fundraising playing field by reducing the fundraising advantage enjoyed by incumbent office holders and those who can afford to spend vast amounts on self-promotion.
  • Increased the number and diversity of candidates running for public office. In both Maine and Arizona the number of candidates running for public office has jumped each year since Clean Elections was introduced. More women and people of color have run for office and won under the Clean Elections system.
  • Reduced the influence of special interests in government decision-making. Clean Election reform is already making a difference in legislative outcomes. For example Maine passed a progressive health care initiative that enables all but the wealthiest families in to purchase prescriptions drugs on the Medicaid list for the Medicaid price saving as much as 60% off market prices.  In Arizona, a bipartisan coalition of legislators enacted a state budget that guaranteed all day kindergarten for more than 150 of the state’s poorest schools, raised subsidies to community colleges and provided financial help to thousands of working families in need of childcare – provisions long opposed by top lawmakers. 

Clean Elections is a sensible approach to changing the status quo and moving toward a government that is more honest, open and accountable to the needs of all its citizens, not just a select few who can afford to make big contributions to candidates.  Here’s what you can do to help build public and political support for public financing of elections in West Virginia:

  1. Contact your delegate(s) and senators and ask them to support the WV Clean Elections Act (“WV Public Campaign Financing Act”). You can do this from our home page or by visiting the website of the West Virginia Legislature.
  2. Write and submit a letter or op-ed to the editor of your local newspaper expressing support for Clean Elections. (Click here for fact sheets and other useful information.)
  3. Attend "meet the candidates" events and ask candidates where they stand on Clean Elections.
  4. Host a house party or organize a Clean Elections presentation. Films (The Big Buy: Tom Delay’s Stolen Congress and The Road to Clean Elections) and speakers are available. Call (304) 346-5891 or e-mail julie@wvcag.org.
  5. Join Citizen Action Group. You'll receive WV-CAG's newsletter, as well as action alerts and weekly update during the legislative session to keep you informed. We'll let you know about legislative hearings and committee meetings when Clean Elections is being considered.

Clean Elections Resources