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Washington State Supreme Court upholds Seattle Democracy Vouchers

A Democracy Voucher. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

The Washington State Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of upholding Seattle’s Democracy Voucher program.

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The ruling came down Thursday morning, in favor of a first-of-its-kind system OK’d by voters in 2015, and implemented two years after that. The program sends all eligible, registered Seattle voters four $25 “vouchers,” that they can distribute accordingly among the candidates of their choosing.

The vouchers were funded for a 10-year period in 2015 by a $3 million voter-approved property tax, that includes commercial, businesses, and residential properties. The city estimates it costs homeowners roughly $8 a year.

Opponents of the program argued in court that it violates the First Amendment, “which prohibits government from forcing private individuals to sponsor other people’s campaign contributions.”

Submit a democracy voucher? Your name is now public

Those opponents have stated they are “quite likely” to appeal Thursday’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Conversely, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission touts Democracy Vouchers as a means to increasing transparency, accountability, and accessibility for how Seattle elections are financed.

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