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Video contest launched to encourage more open WV elections

By Staff | Jan 27, 2009

With the 2009 Legislative session quickly approaching, West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections is amping up its efforts to pass its public campaign financing bill using a video contest and YouTube as leverage.

The coalition has been pushing the West Virginia Legislature to pass their clean (“voter-owned”) elections bill, the West Virginia Public Campaign Financing Act, since 2002. The bill, if passed, would allow legislative candidates to receive public financing for their campaigns if they opted to not take private contributions and adhere to strict spending limits. The videos resulting from the contest just might be the push the coalition needs to get the bill passed.

“We want some of these videos to be able to show to legislators showing why citizens think this [West Virginia Public Campaign Financing Act] is a good program because the Legislature will have to vote on it and in order for them to approve it we know that they’ll have to see citizens in their district who think that this is a good idea,” said coalition coordinator Carol Warren.

Three monetary prizes will be awarded to the best videos in the amounts of $200, $150, and $100.

The coalition will be distributing a compilation of the videos on DVD to the Legislature.

The contest is geared towards college and high school students knowledgeable of state-level politics, though everyone is welcome to enter. The coalition decided to use YouTube in the contest to get their issue out to a younger audience since the site is popular with young people.

“This is a good opportunity to have young people take a look at the voter-owned concept and learn about the benefits. Hopefully, they’ll be inspired to enter the contest and the videos they create will spark additional interest and support in voter-owned elections,” said Warren.

Deadline for submissions is Feb. 28. Winners will be announced by Mar. 6 and a screening will take place at a later date.

The WV Legislature reconvenes on Feb. 11.

WV Citizens for Clean Elections is a coalition of faith based, environmental and government groups, and labor unions supporting the Fair and Clean Elections concept for financing election campaigns. Currently, there are seven states and two cities that have voter-owned clean elections systems.

Contestants can download a registration form and find out more about the contest and clean elections at www.wvoter-owned.org.

Contact Jeremy at news@graffitiwv.com