Check Your $3 for NC!
Check “Yes” on Your State Income Tax Form To Support Fair Elections & Fair Courts in NC
Would you prefer North Carolina judges raise campaign money from the attorneys and business interests who appear in their courts – or get a campaign grant from a public fund if they agree to strict spending limits and prove they are viable candidates by meeting small donor thresholds? Which system promotes fairness in our courts and gives all qualified candidates a chance, even if they are not personally wealthy? Since 2004, North Carolina has had the nation’s first Clean or Voter-Owned Elections public financing program for statewide judicial candidates. It’s a major breakthrough for Voter-Owned Elections in NC — but it won’t work without public participation and your support!
About the Program
Candidates for the N.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals can receive a campaign funding grant from the Public Campaign Fund in exchange for accepting strict spending and fundraising limits. Candidates may not participate in the program until they have demonstrated they have enough support to be viable candidates by raising a specified number of small donations from NC voters. For the period 2004-2008, 78% of the candidates for the N.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals received support from the Public Campaign Fund. In fact, a majority of our state Supreme Court members are now Voter-Owned participants, meaning they received most of their campaign money from small donors and the public instead of the lawyers who argue cases before their courts. Candidates using the program have included Democrats and Republicans, incumbents and challengers, blacks and whites, men and women. The Fund also pays for a Voter Guide with information about the courts and candidates. Four million copies are mailed to households across the state before elections — an important service since statewide judicial candidates are often unknown to the public at large and people need a way to review their qualifications for these important high courts.
A distinguished bipartisan panel oversees the program with the State Board of Elections. It is headed by Willis Whichard, former judge and retired Dean of the Campbell University Law School.
Check Your 3 for NC!
The program won’t work unless hundreds of thousands of taxpayers show their support by choosing “Yes” on a check-off box that is on the N.C. income-tax form. Checking this box does not change your tax bill or tax refund in any way; it just transfers $3 into the Public Campaign Fund from the taxes you will pay anyway. Even if every adult in NC checked “Yes” the impact on the state budget would be miniscule. In fact, just a penny a day per NC adult would fund Voter-Owned Elections for all statewide races, not just the judicial ones — including all General Assembly seats and the Council of State!
Help Us Spread the Word
Look hard and find the question about the check-off on your tax return. TELL YOUR TAX CONSULTANT TO CHECK “YES” IF YOU HAVE ONE – they may not ask you the question! And encourage them to let other people know about this great program to support fair elections and fair courts in NC. For more information, call 919-286-6000 or go to www.ncjudges.org.