Baltimore County Opens Applications For Fair Election Fund Commission


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BALTIMORE COUNTY - Baltimore County has launched an initiative to recruit residents to be part of its first-ever Fair Election Fund Commission. This commission is part of a new public financing system for those running for County Council and County Executive, with its operations set to commence from the 2026 election cycle.

"We welcome residents reflective of Baltimore County's incredible demographic, geographic, and political diversity to apply for this exciting opportunity," County Executive Olszewski said.

The Fair Election Fund Commission will comprise nine county residents, seven representing each council district and two nominated by the county executive. The commission will estimate the funds required for each election cycle and propose annual budget allocations to the County Executive.

Potential applicants must be residents and registered voters in Baltimore County. However, they are ineligible if they are candidates for public office in the previous, current, or next election cycle, chairpersons or treasurers of an open campaign account, members of a local or state central committee of a political party, or lobbyists registered with the County or the State.

County Executive Olszewski previously proposed a charter amendment to establish a system for public financing for candidates, which passed in 2020.

He later formed a bipartisan Fair Election Fund Work Group to suggest recommendations for the system. These suggestions formed the basis for legislation establishing Baltimore County's Fair Election Fund.

Residents wishing to be part of this democratic initiative can apply online until the end of August.

Public financing has been a part of Maryland's political landscape for some time, primarily in gubernatorial races. Larry Hogan, a Republican, made history in 2014 when he became the first Maryland governor to win an election while participating in the state's public financing system.

Recently, four other Maryland jurisdictions have created their own public financing systems for local elections. Montgomery County launched its system in 2018. Marc Elrich, a Democrat, won the County Executive seat using the matched funding system in that election year, and several candidates won seats on the Montgomery County Council using the same funding system.

Other Maryland counties are following suit. Howard County will make matching funds available for candidates in the 2022 election cycle. Baltimore City plans to make similar funds available for candidates in the 2024 cycle, and Prince George's County will implement its system in 2026.

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