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Publicly Funding Elections Going Forward, But Maybe Not For Long

April 19, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. - The Connecticut Citizen Election Program provides public money to fund campaigns for state elective offices, but perhaps not for long. It is being maintained on life support since the General Assembly and Gov. Jodi Rell took action last week to fully fund it through the 2010 fall elections.

However, Cheryl Dunson, vice president for public issues of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, says the $40 million allocated for this year will be cut by $10 million in January 2011, and that's troubling.

"The League of Women Voters and its members are urging the legislature to protect this program because it's the one program we have which is an investment in clean decision-making and clean government."

The law was declared unconstitutional last August by a federal district court judge, in part because it set the bar for participation higher for minor parties than for Democrats and Republicans. The decision is being appealed by the state.

Dunson says the General Assembly has yet to address the court ruling.

"We have been urging the legislature to make changes to the program that respond to the ruling that we had in August."

The state filed a challenge in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to issue a decision soon.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT