The Baltimore County Election Fund Task Force final report proposes a framework for the county’s first public funding system for local office candidates.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, voters in Baltimore County in 2020 approved a Charter amendment to make public funds available to candidates for county executive and county council. Creating a fair election fund is a key priority for county executive Johnny Olszewski, who called for a public funding option for local elections before taking office.
Over the next few months, the Olzweski County Executive will present legislation based on the task force’s recommendations to the County Council, which is to enact legislation to create a fair election fund system for cycle candidates. election of 2026.
Baltimore County will join the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore and three counties – Montgomery, Howard and Prince George’s – in offering a public funding option to applicants.
According to a Baltimore County press release:
The task force’s recommendations released today include:
- Create maximum individual contribution $ 250 limit for candidates participating in the Fair Election Fund system.
- Require contributors to be Baltimore County Residents for contributions to qualify for the threshold required to receive matching funds.
- For County Executive candidates: set a threshold of at least $ 40,000 in eligible contributions from at least 500 contributors prior to authorizing access to the Equity Election Fund matching funds.
- For County council candidates: set a threshold of at least $ 10,000 in eligible contributions from at least 125 contributors prior to authorizing access to the Equity Election Fund matching funds.
- For County Executive candidates: place a limit of $ 750,000 in total matching funds by election.
- For County council candidates: place a limit of $ 80,000 in total matching funds by election.
- Create a tiered matching fund system to encourage applicants to make small contributions.
- Set limits for funds that can be disbursed directly by the candidate, their spouse or adult members of their immediate family for candidates participating in the Fair Election Fund system.
- Establish a fair election fund commission made up of county residents who would make recommendations to the county to ensure the fund is solvent before each election cycle.
Read the full report of the Fair Election Fund task force to find out more.