Over 125,000 Signatures Submitted to Create More Accountable and Transparent County Elections

Initiative Would Strengthen County Campaign Finance Laws and Give Everyday People a Bigger Voice in Elections

NewFM Executive Gihan Perera (center) joins Accountable Dade' spokesperson Christian Ulvert (left.) and SEIU's Political Director Marcus Dixon (center left) and NewFM #RunMIA Volunteers to help turn in 125,000 signatures for Accountable Miami Dade's campaign finance ballot measure on August 2, 2016 outside the Supervisor of Elections' Doral offices.
NewFM Executive Gihan Perera (center) joins Accountable Dade’ spokesperson Christian Ulvert (left.) and SEIU’ Florida’s Political Director Marcus Dixon (center left) and NewFM #RunMIA Volunteers to help turn in 125,000 signatures for Accountable Miami Dade’s campaign finance ballot measure on August 2, 2016 outside the Supervisor of Elections’ Doral offices. (credit: NewFM)

Miami, FL— With Miami-Dade residents collecting over 125,000 signatures to reduce the power of big money in elections while increasing transparency and accountability, voters will now have an opportunity to bring needed reforms to county hall.

The initiative will increase transparency by banning government contractors and their lobbyists from making campaign contributions to county candidates, and update the city’s small-donor matching fund program to give everyday people a bigger voice in the process.

“Today is an important day as Miami-Dade residents came together through the An Accountable Miami-Dade coalition to put every day people at the front seat of our county government,” said former Vice-Mayor Doral Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera. “People are angry as they struggle to get by while wealthy special interests rig the rules in their favor. Over 125,000 residents signed a petition to empower the people to have their say and fight to reign in the power of big money.”

“The Miami-Dade resident led effort of An Accountable Miami-Dade will level the playing field so that everyday people can have their voices heard in the process,” said Marcus Dixon, political director with SEIU Florida. “As big money dominates federal elections, we can come together here at home to strengthen our campaign finance laws, demand accountability and give ordinary people a stronger voice in the process.”

“In the current system only the wealthy or candidates with the right connections can run for office, but the bipartisan initiative supported by tens of thousands of Miami-Dade voters will allow people with the best ideas to run for office and win,” said Mayor Cindy Lerner. “The Accountable Miami-Dade Initiative will help us elect candidates who are committed to the people’s agenda.”

RUNMIASpecifically, the initiative will:

1.     Increase accountability by strengthening enforcement of existing campaign finance laws in Miami-Dade County and increasing fines and penalties for violators.

2.     Increase transparency by requiring candidates to post their contributions and spending online, making it easier for faster for the public to see who’s trying to influence their elected officials.

3.     Limit the power of big-money interests in county policymaking by banning large contractors from making political donations to county candidates and by closing loopholes that allow lobbyists to wield influence through gifts to officials and their staff.

4.     Set strict limits on big-money contributions by reducing the amount of money that individuals, PACs, and corporations and contribute to candidates to $250 per election.

5.     Give ordinary people a stronger voice in government and allow community-supported candidates from diverse backgroundsthe opportunity to run for office by updating Miami-Dade County’s small-donor matching system. Candidates who agree to take contributions of $100 or less can have those small donations marched on a six-to-one basis, allowing candidates to run on the strength of grassroots support, not large donations.

“Today we’re one step closer toward making Miami-Dade more inclusive, removing barriers to civic participation, and getting big money out of politics. This is about democracy and justice,” said New Florida Majority Executive Director Gihan Perera. “While there’s still a lot of work to do to make elections fairer and more accessible, we know that change starts right here at home, and New Florida Majority, along with our partners and tens of thousands of Miami-Dade voters, are proud to be part of that effort.”

Other organizations involved in the effort include League of Women Voters, SEIU Florida, LiUNA, New Florida Majoirty and Every Voice, a nonpartisan national organization that has worked to pass similar policies around the country, has also been providing support to the effort.

Descriptions of the Accountable Miami-Dade initiative in both Spanish and Creole can also be found on the Accountable Miami-Dade website at www.accountablemiamidade.com.