How Voters Benefit
By matching campaign contributions with public funds, this program empowers Suffolk County residents to make their voices heard in elections. By encouraging candidates to raise small-dollar contributions from Suffolk County residents, the program increases engagement between voters and those who seek to represent them. Matching funds encourage voters to be more involved in elections, and it helps ensure elected officials are accountable to their county residents, not to special interests. With this program, individual contributors are the most important source of a candidate’s funding.
How Candidates Benefit
For every dollar contributed up to $250 by an eligible donor*, a participating candidate or designated committee can receive public matching funds. The funds make it easier for Suffolk County residents to enter public life and run for office. Using the matching funds, candidates can run more competitive campaigns even if they lack access to or prefer to refrain from accepting donations from wealthy contributors or special interest groups. Enrolled candidates can build a viable campaign by relying on the support of their neighbors and constituents.
*Eligible donations for County Legislator must come from residents of that candidate's respective legislative district. Eligible donations for County Executive must come from Suffolk County residents.
How Democracy Benefits
With public matching funds, Suffolk residents can run (and win) campaigns against well-known, well-funded opponents. Candidates can run for county elected offices with limited financial resources and be competitive. “Candidates across the country attest to the democracy-enhancing benefits of small donor public financing. The policy enables them to spend more time with their constituents, improving the responsiveness of government, officials elected with public financing told us earlier this year. And it helps break down barriers to entry that historically have disadvantaged women and people of color.” (See brennancenter.org Small Donor Public Financing Plays Role in Electing Most Diverse New York City Council 11/5/2021) Candidates must agree to cap the total contributions received to reasonable and appropriate levels, forego acceptance of large donations in excess of $1500, and restrict certain expenditures as set forth in the Charter Law.
Comprehensive disclosure of candidates’ financial activity provides transparency that helps maintain public confidence in the political process. In addition, rigorous audits of every campaign to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Fair Election Matching Fund Program. The CFB’s independent, nonpartisan oversight of candidates’ fundraising and spending creates a culture of respect for the law, which benefits all Suffolk County Residents.