Asbury Park Press

Boost For Clean Elections

Asbury Park Press — Sunday, September 4, 2005

New Jersey's experimental Clean Elections law is still flawed, but acting Gov. Codey did the right thing by extending the deadline two weeks for Assembly candidates in the 6th and 13th districts to raise enough money to qualify for public funding of their campaigns.

And the creation of a Web site that lets citizens use debit cards or electronic checks to make their contributions is another step in the right direction.

The law is aimed at ridding elections of the corrupting influence of special-interest money. But the requirements necessary to achieve public funding are onerous.

Candidates in the 6th District in Camden County and the 13th District in Monmouth and Middlesex counties have two months – from Aug. 1 to Sept. 7 – to collect 1,000 $5 checks and 500 $30 checks from individuals. If they can do that, they qualify for public funding. If not, they have to turn over whatever money they've collected to the state and begin raising money the traditional way.

Despite the fund-raising hurdles, if candidates are successful at qualifying for public funds, it could go a long way toward cleaning up the state's boss system of politics.

Codey has helped. Voters in the 6th and 13th districts, the only ones who can contribute, who want to join the political process should go to www.state.nj.us/treasury at clean election or www.app.com and click on the Web Extras button to New Jersey Fair and Clean Elections Pilot Project.

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