We need Portland residents to give testimony before the Portland City Council in favor of Councilor Anna Trevorrow’s proposal for a Clean Elections program.

In November 2022, Portland voters passed Question 3 which mandated that the City Council create a clean elections program so that candidates can run in municipal elections in Portland without having to take money from the wealthy or corporate interests.

Councilor Anna Trevorrow has crafted a plan for implementing clean elections that has won the support of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections and was approved by a straw poll of city councilors at the April 3rd, 2023 City Council workshop meeting.

Anna’s proposal would allow clean candidates to collect a number of $5 qualifying contributions to qualify for the program. Once qualified, clean candidates would get public funding to run municipal elections for Mayor, City Council, and School Board in Portland.

We’re close to getting the Clean Election Program we voted for, but we’re not there yet.

Mayor Synder or other councilors may introduce amendments or alternate proposals at the next City Council meeting on Monday April 24th, 2023 at 5PM. These amendments might try to reduce funding for the program or make the program harder for clean candidates to use – so we’d end up with a Clean Elections Program in name only that wouldn’t be competitive with privately funded campaings.

What makes the Trevorrow Proposal better for Portland

A budget based on actual campaign costs

The Trevorrow proposal has a program budged based on the analysis of what real races have cost to run in Portland. It would fully fund the clean elections program with a budget of $500,000 in mayoral years. Alternate proposals would cut the budget and the maximum disbursement amounts and ensure that clean candidates can’t compete with privately funded candidates.

More time for clean candidates to collect qualifying donations

Clean candidates need to collect $5 “qualifying donations” to qualify for clean election funds. Under the Trevorrow Proposal, clean candidates could start collecting these donations starting on June 1st. Alternate proposals make clean candidates start later in the election cycle, giving them less time to collect qualifying donations and making them collect those donations while they’re busy collecting signatures to get on the ballot.

Four rounds of funding which makes it easier for clean candidates to get started

The Trevorrow proposal breaks candidate qualification into four rounds with four disbursements of clean election funds. Alternate proposals are all-or-nothing – which means a clean election candidate would have to collect a lot more $5 qualifying contributions before they get access to a single cent of public funding. The Trevorrow proposal lets clean candidates start with a smaller number of $5 qualifying contributions for a portion of public funding and then build their campaign and name recognition as they go. As they continue to get support in each round, they unlock more public funds. The all-or-one solution would mean that fewer candidates would get access to clean election funds.

Getting public campaign funds to clean candidates sooner

The Trevorrow proposal would get the first round of public funds to qualifying clean candidates on July 17th. Alternate proposals wouldn’t get funds to clean candidates until Labor Day. Privately funded campaigns will already be spending money before Labor Day and if clean candidates don’t have access to clean election funds, they’re at a disadvantage.

Don’t let the City Council create a Clean Elections Program in name only – we need the Trevorrow Proposal!

If the City Council amends the Trevorrow Proposal or adopts an alternate proposal that doesn’t have a real budget or makes running as a clean candidate too difficult or uncompetitive with privately funded candidates, then it will be a Clean Elections Program in name only. Portland residents voted overwhelmingly for a Clean Elections Program and we deserve one that clean candidates can actually use to win races.

We need Portland residents to give testimony in support of the Trevorrow Proposal at the next City Council meeting on Monday April 24th, 2023 at 5PM.

How to give testimony

The City Council meeting is on Monday April 24th, 2023 at 5PM. The City Council will discuss clean elections under Order 171-22/23, Amendment to Portland City Code Chapter 9 Re: Clean Elections. Please wait for Order 171-22/23 to come up. The council will provide an opportunity for public comment when it gets to Order 171-22/23. If you ask to speak on this item before it comes up, you’ll be asked to wait.

Option 1: In Person at City Hall

If you can attend in person, go to:

City Council Chambers
389 Congress Street
2nd Floor of City Hall
Portland, ME 04101

Option 2: Remotely via Zoom

For public comment via Zoom, you will need to use the “raise your hand” feature. To raise your hand via the telephone, please hit 9. You will be unmuted by the host when it is time for public comment.

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Passcode: 115765

Or One tap mobile:

+19292056099,,89911473409#,,,,115765# US (New York)
+13017158592,,89911473409#,,,,*115765# US (Washington DC)

Or Telephone:
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Webinar ID: 899 1147 3409

Passcode: 115765
International numbers available: https://portlandmaine-gov.zoom.us/u/koJo6UgHX

Option 3: In Writing via Email

To submit written public comment on an agenda item, send an email to: publiccomment@portlandmaine.gov and council@portlandmaine.gov. To make sure councilors see your message, try to submit messages before Sunday April 23rd, 12pm.

Sample Testimony

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on Order 171-22/23, Amendment to Portland City Code Chapter 9 Re: Clean Elections.

My name is <your name> and I reside at <your address>. I want to speak in favor of Councilor Anna Trevorrow’s proposal for a Clean Elections program which the council approved at the April 3rd workshop meeting.

We need a Clean Elections program that can actually work for clean candidates. This means:

  • We need to fully fund the program with a budget of $500,000 in mayoral election years.
  • Keep the maximum disbursement amounts as they are.
  • Candidates need to be able to collect qualifying donations on starting on June 1st.
  • We need four rounds of disbursements, not an all-or-nothing model.
  • We need to unlock access to clean election funds before Labor Day on July 17th.

Portland residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of a Clean Elections Program in 2022. If the council creates a program that is underfunded, too hard to use, or puts clean candidates at a disadvantage to privately funded candidates, then no one will use it. We need a real Clean Elections Program that works.

Thank You