In Arizona, candidates who agree to accept very low amounts of private money receive a fixed and limited amount of public funds. A five-member, non-partisan election commission with real authority to enforce election laws administers the system. Matching funds up to three times the original campaign allocation are available for Clean Money candidates who are outspent by non-participating opponents or targeted by independent expenditures. The law also reduced individual contribution limits for non-participating candidates by 20 percent.
Allstatewide races as well as candidates for the state legislature are covered, and Arizona was the first state to elect a governor under a public finance system.
In August 2004 the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 106, a ballot initiative seeking to eliminate the public finance system and the Citizens’ Clean Election Commission, could not appear on the November ballot as it was written. It violated the state’s ban on including more than one subject in a proposed constitutional amendment.
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