The Democrats' pending voting overhaul legislation would authorize a federal commission to oversee the distribution of $25 credits to qualified voters, who would be able to donate the funds to candidates for public office.
The bill, titled the "Freedom to Vote Act," also includes a 6-1 matching program for candidates meeting specified fundraising criteria.
These programs are part of the Democrats' effort to require public financing of campaigns. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders argue that public financing of campaigns would eliminate "dark money" from the political process.
The bill requires the Federal Election Commission to oversee a system that makes payments to states through a "State Election Assistance and Innovation Trust Fund" in order to operate a "Democracy Credit Program." The program would give qualified voters $25 vouchers during an election cycle.
Participating states have to meet certain criteria spelled out in the bill. The state provides each qualified individual voter upon the individual’s request with a $25 "democracy credit" that's assigned a "routing number" in either paper or electronic form.
To receive the $25 credits, voters have to be a resident of the state and of legal voting age "as of the date of the election for the candidate to whom the individual submits a Democracy Credit."
"Using the routing number assigned to the Democracy Credit, the individual may submit the Democracy Credit in either electronic or paper form to qualified candidates for election for the office of Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress and allocate such portion of the value of the Democracy Credit in increments of $5 as the individual may select to any such candidate," reads the bill.
"If the candidate transmits the Democracy Credit to the commission, the commission shall pay the candidate the portion of the value of the Democracy Credit that the individual allocated to the candidate, which shall be considered a contribution by the individual to the candidate for purposes of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971," the bill also reads.
The Presidential Election Campaign Fund is listed as one of the sources of funding for the credit. According to a report from December 2021, there was more than $402 million of unused money sitting in the fund.
Taxpayers have the option to provide a donation to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund on their tax returns.
The legislation also contains a 6-1 matching program for candidate seeking public office.
A candidate for federal office can participate in the matching program if more than 1,000 individuals make a qualified small dollar contribution to the candidate and if the candidate "obtains a total dollar amount of qualified small dollar contributions which is equal to or greater than $50,000."
Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is a strong opponent of the public financing provisions of the Freedom to Vote Act.
"Senator Scott believes that the government has no business issuing federal dollars to fund political campaigns and their attack ads," a spokesperson for Scott told Just the News. "It's a gross misuse of funding that cannot be allowed to pass."