“Democracy Vouchers” – A gift card for the Libtard

Electing an openly socialist activist to the Seattle City Council was one thing, but now Seattle has socialized city council elections. The so-called “democracy vouchers” are a full-employment act for less-than-mediocre program managers who aspire to political office. These individuals would otherwise be pumping gas in Oregon, but instead they’re getting funds to spout their fringy political ideas. You can thank the passage of Initiative 122 for this and the newly-named Ethics and Elections Commission for making all this fun possible.

The complexity of redeeming a voucher is absolutely mind-numbing and the most a candidate can receive from an individual is $100.

Here’s an outline of the process:

  1. Vouchers are mailed out to every registered voter in the City of Seattle. A total of 4 – $25 vouchers are assigned to each voter. (Remember this, it’s important later.)
  2. Let’s say a candidate comes by and you like what you hear, so you give them a signed voucher.
  3. No so fast! That was a Congressional or state legislative candidate and the vouchers are only good for Seattle City Council or Seattle City Attorney. They’re not even good to donate to the mayoral race (until 2021).
  4. Another candidate comes by and you’re equally enamored with what they have to say and lo and behold, they are running for the Seattle City Council, so you sign over the voucher and give it to them. Whew, that was easy.
  5. Wait, first you must know if the candidate is participating in the voucher program. If they’re not, oops, you’re shucks-outa-lucks.
  6. A third candidate rings your doorbell and they’re actually a SEATTLE City Council candidate that is participating in the program. You sign over the voucher and the candidate takes it with them.
  7. The candidate mails it into the Ethics and Elections Commission.
  8. The Ethics and Elections Commission will verify your signature. We’re not sure how they’re going to be doing this because they’re not the same as the King County Elections Division. We presume they have access to the voter database which makes us uneasy. This process is not specified on the city’s website on the program’s page: http://www.seattle.gov/democracyvoucher/about-the-program
  9. Funds will finally be disbursed to the campaign (one would hope they don’t have to cut a check, but I’m sure that’s exactly what they do).

There are limits too on how these “Democracy Vouchers” can be spent. According to the city’s site, they cannot be used in any of the following manners.

  • Make cash payments
  • Reimburse contributors for their contributions
  • Pay the candidate a salary, or pay the candidate’s personal expenses
  • Support the candidate in a campaign for a different office
  • Make contributions to other candidates or political committees
  • Make payments to family members

Well-supported and qualified candidates are clearly going to forego these vouchers because the spending limits are so confining for a campaign that may need to run city-wide or even only district-wide. Seattle is a big place and reaching voters is an expensive proposition. But this means the political “weeds” (AKA fringe candidates) will pop up like they’re wont to do after a spring rain. We now have a recipe for the politics in Seattle getting even weirder and less mainstream.

Now, back to Step 1 where I mentioned the $100 (in $25 increments). If you do the multiplication against the number of voters, it adds up to more than $50 million in vouchers issued for a 2-year cycle. Councilmembers are elected every two years – so as not to have all of them up for election at the same time – to a four-year term. Only $3 million will be collected each year from the levy, so that works out to be $6 million collected over the same period.

Fortunately for this program, the bureaucrats have “tinkered” with the process to make it so hard to redeem that it’s unlikely that more than a couple thousand of these will be cashed in. However, nothing could be more warming to my soul than the thought of $20 million in vouchers being claimed with only $3 million coming into the fund the very first year.

Oh, don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll come out of the general fund that could have been used for productive things like repaving some of the worst municipal streets in the state or coming up with a real plan to keep squatters and druggies from ruining the city. If this comes to pass, it couldn’t have happened to a stupider city.

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