Although Chapel Hill has led the state in publicly funding local campaigns, the town’s reign as the sole provider of a municipally funded financing program could soon come to an end.
Enacted on June 9, 2008, the town’s Voter-Owned Elections ordinance works to limit campaign spending and push candidates to garner widespread community support by requiring them to collect a large number of small campaign contributions.
But the N.C. General Assembly only approved the pilot program to operate for two election cycles — the second of which will be this November.
- To receive funding, the program stipulates that candidates can only accept contributions between $5 and $20.
- Mayoral candidates must raise at least 165 qualifying contributions that total at least $1,676.
- Candidates for the Town Council must raise at least 83 qualifying contributions that total at least $838.
Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos said if the Chapel Hill Town Council decides to continue offering the program, it must submit a report with program data to the General Assembly after November’s election and ask for a renewal.
He said the council will discuss the issue when it plans its legislative agenda in late fall or early winter, but whether the state legislature would approve such a renewal is questionable at best.