Location: All of Maine
Project Team: Wells Lyons
Vote Local will increase participation in Clean Elections by emphasizing the connection between publicly-financed elections and good policy outcomes for Maine youth. Keeping out-of-state donors out of Maine politics will amplify youth voices in state politics. Citizens will have more control over our electoral process. Despite our energy and determination, the youth typically lack financial resources needed to run a competitive campaign and candidates are often older and much wealthier.
How are you making Maine a better place for young people?
Vote Local will work to increase awareness of, support for, and participation in Clean Elections by Maine’s youth.
The idea behind Vote Local is to increase support for Maine’s system of publicly financed elections, Maine Clean Elections. Vote Local emphasizes the connection between publicly financed elections and good policy outcomes for Mainers. By keeping out of state donors out of Maine politics, Maine citizens will have more control over our electoral process.
Vote Local makes Maine a better place for young people by amplifying our voice in state politics. Young people are at a distinct disadvantage when seeking to participate politically. Despite our energy and determination, we typically lack the financial resources needed to run a competitive campaign; candidates are often older and much wealthier, with personal assets available to fund their races. Since we also lack the financial means to significantly contribute to political campaigns, this means that we often miss out on the opportunity to attend fundraisers and discuss our concerns withe elected officials at these events – the $100 a ticket rally with the President in March is only the latest example. At the state level at least, many of these problems are addressed by Maine’s Clean Elections system. Vote Local will work to increase awareness of, support for, and participation in Clean Elections by Maine’s youth.
What challenges in your community are you addressing?
Vote Local seeks to remove the influence of money in politics and to increase the number of young people running for political office.
Vote Local not only raises awareness, but it engages both voters and candidates with meaningful “”asks”" of all involved. Voters are encouraged to support only candidates for state office who use public financing. Candidates are encouraged to show their commitment to Clean Elections by using any of the “Vote Local” logos or messaging in their campaign literature.
Who will benefit from your idea? How will people access and learn about the work you are doing?
All Maine voters will benefit from an increased awareness of Maine Clean Elections, but young people in particular will have an increased ability to run and be heard in the electoral process. Vote Local will get its message out by creating a well designed website, where citizens can learn about Maine’s Clean Elections system in simple, easy to understand language. We will offer multiple ways to show support for Maine Clean Elections, ranging from stickers to yard signs to t-shirts. We will be dedicated to getting the message out, and increasing awareness of publicly financed elections among young voters and potential candidates.
What major success would you like to see at the end or apex of your project?
Vote Local will be a resounding success if we increase awareness of publicly financed elections and encourage more young people to run publicly financed campaigns. Vote Local is all about increasing civic engagement in the political process. If we can inform twenty candidates statewide about Maine Clean Elections and convince them to run, we will consider our work a success!