Voting is extremely important. But it’s a small part of getting someone elected. No matter how you slice it or dice it, getting elected is going to cost money.
As a voter, vouchers empowered me to support a candidate who would fight for issues I cared about. But vouchers also have inspired me to run for office.
In 2017, I ran for the interim Seattle City Council 8 position, and though I wasn’t appointed, so many people encouraged me to run for a district seat following that process. If we didn’t have Democracy Vouchers in place, it would be unaffordable for me to run. But Democracy Vouchers present an opportunity for someone like me to run.
I come from intersectionality of identities not typically represented as fiscal supporters of politicians: working poor, Caribbean black, latino, with Western-prescribed mental health eccentricities.
If there weren’t vouchers, it limits people like me being a part of the process. I have so much I can contribute to the process. I have supporters, experience working on a city commission, unique ideas to bring to the table, am currently working on my second masters in public administration and have a masters of nonprofit administration. What I don’t have is affluence or affluent friends. But, just because I’m not affluent and don’t hang out with affluent people, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be a part of this process.
At the end of the day, you need to pay a campaign team, you need to buy ad materials. You need to pay for poster boards, and you need to pay for the gas it takes to knock on doors.
We live in a city that says it values intersectionality, anti-racism and progressive values. But if we believe in that stuff, we need to put equalizers in our system. Democracy Vouchers are an equalizer.
ChrisTiana ObeySumner is ChrisTiana ObeySumner is a Queer, Indigenous, Black Womxn who is a doer of all the things -- most notably Founding E.D. of the Eleanor Elizabeth Institute for Black Empowerment and Principal Social Equity Consultant of ChrisTiana Consulting.