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Baltimore City Hall
Baltimore City Hall (Jeffrey F. Bill, Baltimore Sun)

Residents of Baltimore, as well as many of the city’s lawmakers, have expressed support in recent weeks for the Fair Election Fund. On Tuesday, Nov. 5, a Baltimore City Council committee unanimously voted to approve the bill (“Baltimore City council should swiftly enact Fair Election Fund,” Nov. 4). The repercussions of this bill are positive in several regards — especially for women.

Recent scholarship has suggested that women have a tougher time getting donations for their campaigns than men and that women tend to rely heavily on small donations. However, with the Fair Election Fund, small donations will have power. By matching said small donations via a public fund, the Fair Election Fund encourages more participation since voters will feel confident that their donations can finally impact local campaigns. This will both empower lower income voters and limit the influence of the wealthiest donors.

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Because the Fair Election Fund’s matching program helps keep all candidates competitive regardless of whether or not they can rally large donors, female candidates will be emboldened and equally able to keep up with their competitors. This can lead to an increase in female voter participation and an overall more equitable representation of women in Baltimore. We need to encourage the participation of everyone in the democratic process — especially those voices that tend to get left out. By doing so, we will be fulfilling the purpose of democracy and ultimately creating a more efficient government for Baltimore that could end up setting precedents for similar systems across the nation.

Naba Wahid, Baltimore

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