Frequently Asked Questions

What area will the San Diego Clean Elections measure cover?

The City of San Diego

How does it work?  Candidates who wish to earn the right to run as clean elections candidates, MUST:

  • Show that they have significant support by being able to raise a large number of small, $5 donations towards the clean money fund.
  • Agree to voluntary spending limits.
  • Agree to take no campaign contributions from private donors.
  • Agree to put no money into their campaign from their own pocket.
  • They will then receive full public funding for their campaign

Would the San Diego Clean Elections measure require everyone to use it?

No, it is strictly voluntary, candidates have to earn the right for public funding and candidates can also run traditional campaigns as before using their own and special interest funding.

How can a Clean Elections candidate run a competitive campaign?

The goal of Clean Elections is not to match the amount of private funding raised by traditional candidates but to ensure that the clean elections candidate has enough funding to be competitive. There are other advantages of Clean Elections including the fact that Clean Elections candidates can spend their time on voter contact instead of calling special interest groups and wealthy individuals seeking campaign contributions.

How much will Clean Elections cost?

The cost of Clean Elections will be $4 per person per year or about the cost of a gallon of milk per person. According to the City of San Diego, the population of the city was approximately 1.4 million residents in 2017 which would mean that the annual cost of Clean Elections will be roughly $5.6 million per year. (The cost of clean elections is being reviewed at this time – 2/15/22)

Clean Elections will pay for itself by limiting political payback giveaways and sweetheart deals, given in exchange for campaign contributions by developers and special interests.

What areas in the U.S. have clean elections?

There are over 25 entities that currently have publicly funded elections across the United States including the states of Arizona and Maine and the city of Albuquerque.

Have clean elections been successful elsewhere?

Arizona and Maine, which have had clean elections since 2000, have seen Clean Elections level the playing field. It allows regular, everyday residents and more women and people of color to serve in office.  Also, it has shown that you do not need to be wealthy to run for office and it has limited the impact of the special interests like the Koch brothers.

Why is it OK to spend public funds on political campaigns?

Using public funding for Clean Elections candidates is an appropriate use of public funds because our city’s political leaders make decisions that impact every San Diegan and those decisions should be for the benefit of all San Diegans, not just the wealthy and powerful.

What is the organization behind the San Diego Clean Elections measure?

Clean Elections San Diego, whose goal is to empower all San Diegans and all San Diego neighborhoods through Clean Elections. Their motto is “Give Neighborhoods A Say!”

Who will administer the San Diego Clean Elections measure?

The Ethics Commission which currently monitors San Diego city elections has been tapped to administer the San Diego Clean Elections measure.

What is the web page for Clean Elections San Diego?

Who do I talk to if I have a question about clean elections?

Contact John Hartley, Campaign Coordinator, at 619-299-8870 or