Howard County Citizens Election Fund

Overview Prepared by Ruth Nimmo, IndivisibleHoCoMD

April 15, 2019

Note:  Language in all caps is a direct quote from the Act establishing the Howard County Citizens Election Fund.

Provides for:

  1. Eligible contributions of up to $250 per 4-year election cycle;

“ELIGIBLE CONTRIBUTION" MEANS AN AGGREGATE DONATION IN A 4-YEAR ELECTION CYCLE FROM AN INDIVIDUAL, INCLUDING AN INDIVIDUAL WHO DOES NOT RESIDE IN THE COUNTY, THAT DOES NOT EXCEED THE CONTRIBUTION LIMIT SET IN THIS SUBTITLE.

  1. Up to $12,000 in contributions or loans from the candidate or family members
  2. Adjusted for inflation per CPI
  3. To qualify for funds:
  1. Co. Executive to collect at least $40,000 from at least 500 qualifying contributors
  2. Co. Council to collect at least $10,000 from at least 125 qualifying contributors
  1. Co. Exec. matching is the ratio of:
  1. $7 for each $1 received for contributions of $1 - $50
  2. $4 for the second $50 received
  3. $1 for the third $50 received
  4. 0 for any amount above $150 received
  5. Note:  Contributions from non-residents are not eligible for matching funds.
  1. Co. Council matching is the ratio of:
  1. $5 for each $1 received for contributions of $1 - $50
  2. $3 for the second $50 received
  3. $1 for the third $50 received
  4. 0 for any amount above $150 received
  5. Note:  Contributions from non-residents are not eligible for matching funds.
  1.  Total public contribution is capped at:
  1. $700,000 for Co. Exec.
  2. $85,000 for a candidate for Co. Council
  1. There are no caps on total spending by the candidate
  2. AN APPLICANT CANDIDATE OR PARTICIPATING CANDIDATE SHALL NOT:
  1. ACCEPT A PRIVATE CONTRIBUTION FROM ANY GROUP OR ORGANIZATION, INCLUDING A  POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE, A CORPORATION, A LABOR ORGANIZATION, OR A STATE OR LOCAL CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF A POLITICAL PARTY;
  2. ACCEPT PRIVATE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM AN INDIVIDUAL IN AN AGGREGATE AMOUNT GREATER THAN $250 DURING AN ELECTION CYCLE, OR THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF AN ELIGIBLE CONTRIBUTION, AS ADJUSTED BY SECTION 10.302(c) OF THIS SUBTITLE;
  1.   Section 907(b)(1) of the Howard County Charter provides for funding of the Citizens Election Fund:

“Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, in each fiscal year the Executive shall include in the Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance required by Article VI of this Charter the amount necessary to fully fund the Citizens' Election Fund System for the ensuing fiscal year, as calculated by the Commission.”

  1.  Voluntary contributions can be collected by the County via a checkbox on water and sewer bills allowing a resident to add $3 to the bill for the Citizens Election Fund or by direct  contributions to the fund via the following link:

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Finance/Citizens-Election-Fund