This is the first year of the City of Seattle’s new Democracy Voucher program, created by the City and passed in a 2015 referendum.

You should have received in the mail four vouchers, each worth $25 to a recipient candidate.

You can give as many of your vouchers as you want to each eligible candidate, including giving all four to one candidate, which may make a lot of sense this year.

Only city council candidates and city attorney candidates are eligible to receive democracy vouchers this year. The mayor’s race will be covered by the program starting in 2021. There are two council races on the ballot, in which STB has endorsed Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena González. González is widely expected to win easily. Mosqueda is in a very competitive contest.

Mosqueda’s website gives an address to which you can mail your democracy vouchers.

Answers to questions such as how to request replacement vouchers are available at the City’s website.

You are still free to donate money directly to candidate campaigns, up to $250, if the candidate is partipating in the program, or $500 if the candidate is not.

The primary election is Tuesday, August 1. You should have received your ballot by now. Drop boxes are open 24/7 until 8 pm on election day at many locations. If you send your ballot through the US Postal Service, be sure to affix first-class postage worth at least 49 cents. Accessible voting centers (open to all voters) are open at various locations during limited hours.

STB has also endorsed Jessyn Farrell for Mayor and made endorsements in various other races.

9 Replies to “Have You Used Your Democracy Vouchers?”

  1. It will be interesting to see the numbers on how this is used after this election. What happens to unused funds from the program? Have they budgeted for 100% redemption or something less than that? If it ends up costing $10 to distribute $1, I would sincerely hope we can make this experimental program go away. I wish I could choose to contribute mine to the food bank. There are no candidates worth supporting.

    1. I have the same question. People have the right to not support anyone if they choose. But I have a feeling there will be no reimbursement to taxpayers for those unused vouchers. When has the government, especially in Seattle, not kept every penny of tax money? I’m sure they knew this would happen and loved the idea of free tax money. BUT….I’d love to be proved wrong.

      1. The current voucher money isn’t enough to cover the Mayoral race (which is why democracy vouchers can’t be used for Mayoral candidates). Any unspent money should go towards future Council and Mayor races.

  2. Excellent idea. Wish Government at every level in our country would adopt it. And also limit every donation, private and especially corporate, to above amount. Since that requires repealing Citizens United, even more worth the single-issue effort.

    But reason I’m now ineligible for these vouchers raises some dangerously overlooked questions about results of the very large numbers of us long-time citizens who built Seattle being suddenly displaced by those who just bought it. My former Ballard home still advertises how comfy the neighborhood has always been.

    We certainly will get into action correcting the deficiency where we now live. However temporarily. But over the time it’ll take to do it, we’ve lost a voting right that a lot of us supported. Which may very well happen again before next election. And the one after.

    Not every shift in the windfall has a conspiracy behind it. Sometimes the political enemy, like every speculator who isn’t a decent landlord, just lucks out. As a whole former opposing constituency becomes somebody else’s non-voting refugee problem.

    Of find temporary voting quarters in places disastrously affected by the events that ran us out of Seattle, where our whole voting agenda will be dealing with the forces and events that changed our district. Like fact that the Federal highway that used to carry our public transit is now a car lot.

    If results of our displacement are to be forever with us, we should have the right to vote to change the situation. Though common decency presently rules out adopting the legislators across the invasive-snail- pond to fight for us.

    So best I can do this year is 4 x $25 out of my own pocket to Nikkita Oliver. Most likely Seattle Mayor to try to do anything about the situation but relocate our former neighbors who’ve been unable to escape to a different freeway basement. Be good if they all combine their hundred dollars and send them to same campaign.

    Mark Dublin

  3. Received them way back in January. Have no idea where in our house they are. Yes, I had already looked up how to replace them. If they have a system for replacing them, couldn’t they have a system for issuing them electronically in the first place, so we don’t have 6 months to misplace them before we might want to use them? Or rather than sending them out in January, send them out later in the year, perhaps after the filing deadline.

    1. +1 and the comment below. I remember getting a letter about these and probably recycled it, on the assumption that everything would (or at least could) be done electronicly, because this is twenty-fucking-seventeen. I was shocked to find that (a) they have to be sent through the mail and (b) their site doesn’t mention any obvious plan to provide an electronic version of the service in future.

    2. The initiative was a poorly drafted — it requires the Vouchers be mailed out on January 1st, well before voters begin thinking about city elections. It’s not surprising that so many people misplaced or recycled them.

  4. I have no idea where my “Democracy Vouchers” are… most likely they ended up in the recycling bin. No, I’m not going through the trouble of replacing them.

  5. My partner and I mailed ours in when we dropped off our ballots. I’ll definitely be interested to see the financial numbers for the program — I’m sure other cities/citizen movements are as well.

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