Fall 2003 Home   Newsletters

Winter 2003

Summer 2004

President's Message (Maile Bay)
Openness in the Courts (Jackie Parnell)
Our Comprehensive (Full) Public Funding Bill 2004 (Grace Furukawa)
Public Funding of Presidential Primary and General Election
Where Has Our Democracy Gone? (Grace Furukawa)
Ray of Sunshine (Jean Aoki)
Local League News - Honolulu
Local League News - Hawaii (Lois Cecil)
Local League News - Kauai (Carol Bain)
What is the Act 190 Task Force and Who Cares? (Jaurene Judy)
NBC to Televise Democratic Presidential Primary Debate... LWVUS

Public Funding of Presidential Primary and General Election Campaigns

The federal government offers partial public funding for the primaries, and full public funding for general elections, in exchange for candidates' acceptance of spending ceilings. Spending ceilings and public grants are adjusted for inflation in each new election cycle.

Primary Elections

1. Partial public funding in the form of matching payments

  1. Federal government matches all contributions of $250 or less, dollar for dollar for up to roughly $19 million in the 2004 primaries.

  2. Available only for candidates seeking nomination by a national political party. Independent candidates are not eligible.

2. To qualify, candidates must

  1. show broad-based public support by receiving at least $5,000 in contributions of $250 or less in twenty or more states,

  2. agree to limit total campaign spending of public and private funds to about $45 million in the 2004 primary election. In 1996, the spending limit was about $31 million.

  3. limit election campaign spending in each state to about $740,000 in the 2004 primary or to a specified amount based on the number of voting age adults in the state whichever is greater, and

  4. limit spending of personal funds to $50,000.

General Elections

1. Full public funding

  1. $74 million in the 2004 General Election. (In the 2002 General Election, each of the majorparty candidates received $67.5 million in public funds.)

  2. Candidates may raise and spend some private money to cover compliance and limited fundraising costs.

2. Third-party candidates

  1. Eligible for public funding if the party's nominee received between 5 and 20% of the popular vote in the previous presidential election.

  2. If a third party did not field a candidate in the last election, its candidate may receive public funding after the election is over, but only if he or she receives 5% or more of the vote. The amount of the public funds available for the third party candidate is based on the proportion of the popular vote he or she receives.

Fall 2003 Home   Newsletters Summer 2004