Democracy Forum 4/19/24: Clean Elections 24 Years Later (Yes, it’s been that long)

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine
Production Assistance:
Joel Mann

The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Claire Fox, Ruth Eveland, Michael Fisher, Claire Fox, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Ann Luther, Rick Lyles, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Kathy Stark, Leah Taylor, and Linda Washburn.

Democracy Forum: Participatory Democracy, encouraging citizens to take an active role in government and politics

This month:
We’ll talk about the Maine Clean Election Act — public funding for candidate campaigns– as we move through our third decade. How does our program work in Maine? What have been its benefits and disappointments? How do publicly financed elections fit into the practical landscape for campaign finance reform considering the current legal environment? What trends are we seeing in Maine and nationally?


– Anna Kellar, Executive Director, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections
– Ian Vandewalker, Special Counsel, Democracy, Brennan Center for Justice

To learn more about this topic:
1. RFK Jr.’s VP Pick and the Dangers of Self-Funded Campaigns | Brennan Center for Justice, Ian Vandewalker, March 2024
2. Maine considers expanding clean elections law to county candidates | Public News Service, February, 2024
3. Small Donor Public Financing Explained | Brennan Center for Justice, Mariana Paez and Ian Vandewalker, June 2023
4. 2023 Study Report on the MCEA | Maine Ethics Commission
5. MCEA Candidate Participation 2022 | Maine Ethics Commission
6. Fight Over Clean Elections Act Won’t Be Over Anytime Soon And May Have Consequences In November | Maine Public, June 2018
7. What is the Maine Clean Elections Law?, MCCE video explainer and fact sheet,
8. Cleaning House? Assessing the Impact of Maine’s Clean Elections Act on Electoral Competitiveness | Maine Policy Review, 2012
9. Maine “Clean Elections” Initiative, Question 1 (2015) – Ballotpedia,_Question_1_(2015)#MCEA
10. Amplifying Small-Dollar Donors in the Citizens United Era | Common Cause

About the host:
Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.