ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball expressed strong support for expanding Maryland’s local public campaign finance system, and thanked the Howard County Council for adopting a remedy to correct a glitch in Howard County’s program.
Public financing should be available for more offices, including Boards of Education, sheriffs, and more. I support removing barriers so good people can run for office. There is so much talent and dedication in our communities, and we need it in the public realm.
Ball testified Tuesday in support of House Bill 488, sponsored by Del. Jessica Feldmark of Howard and Baltimore counties, which would expand local public campaign finance to judicial offices, the school board, the Register of Wills, the State’s Attorney, and more.
“Democracy begins at home, and Del. Feldmark’s bill is an important step in strengthening our local institutions,” Ball said.
Also on Tuesday, Executive Ball thanked the Howard County Council for approving Council Bill 11, which he co-sponsored with all five members of the County Council. The legislation clarified the date on which public funds can be released to candidates seeking matching dollars in contested races, including primaries.
I am pleased that we have fixed technical issues and can move forward. I’m appreciative for the partnership with the Council to move forward in a productive manner, and am grateful for our Director of Finance, Rafiu Ighile, for his work throughout the process.
As a member of the County Council in 2017, Ball voted in favor of legislation which led to the creation of the Howard County Citizen’s Election Fund, and also voted to override a veto of the prior County Executive, who did not support the program. The Fund was created to provide public campaign financing to a candidate in a County office to encourage small, private donations.
Under the program, candidates for County Executive can receive up to $700,000 in public matching funds, after they collect 500 qualifying contributions totaling up to at least $40,000. A County Council candidate can receive up to $85,000 in matching funds, after receiving 125 contributions totaling up to at least $10,000.
Executive Ball has dedicated $1.25 million for the county’s public financing system over the past two years, the first time the program has been funded. The 2022 election cycle is the first time it will be used.