Democracy Dollars Program | Oakland Fair Elections Act

On November 8, 2022, Oakland voters approved ballot Measure W, the Oakland Fair Elections Act, creating a newly designed public campaign financing program that disperses $100 in Democracy Dollar vouchers to eligible Oakland residents who can then assign the Dollars to the candidate of their choice.

What is the Democracy Dollars Program?

The Democracy Dollars Program offers a new way for Oakland residents to participate in local government by supporting campaigns and/or running for office themselves. Democracy Dollars are certificates that Oakland residents can give to participating candidates to help support their campaigns.

How did the Democracy Dollars Program begin?

In November 2022, Oakland voters passed Measure W, the Oakland Fair Elections Act. Measure W enacted several campaign finance reforms that change the way campaigns are typically financed for Oakland candidates.

One major reform allows the Oakland Public Ethics Commission (Commission or PEC) to distribute "Democracy Dollars" to eligible Oakland residents. The new law outlines criteria for participation and thresholds that a candidate must meet to qualify for the program and receive their assigned vouchers, including campaign spending limits and participation in a certain number of public forums. The Democracy Dollars program also includes a significant outreach component to encourage broad participation in the new program.

Oakland is the first California city, and only the second city in the nation, to try this innovation in public campaign financing. The Commission is committed to increasing transparency, accountability, equity, and accessibility for how Oakland elections are financed.

When is the first election I can use Democracy Dollars?

In early 2024, the PEC will distribute the new Democracy Dollars to Oakland residents. Oakland residents can use their Democracy Dollars to support participating candidates running for Oakland elected offices.

Project Timeline

  • November 2022

    Oakland voters approve Measure W

  • July 2023

    Program funds and staff budgeted

  • December 2023

    Commission announces Democracy Dollars funds available for 2024 election

  • January 2024 - Program Launch

    Candidate application process begins

  • January - April 2024

    Community outreach to raise awareness of program

  • April 2024

    Democracy Dollars mailed to Oakland registered voters

    Eligible residents not registered to vote may apply for Democracy Dollars

  • April - November 2024

    Eligible Oakland residents assign vouchers to candidate of their choice

    Funds are disbursed to participating candidates

  • November 2024


  • December 2024

    Candidates return unused Democracy Dollars Funds


The Public Ethics Commission is an independent commission made up of Oakland residents and charged with ensuring fairness, openness, honesty and integrity in Oakland City government.

Our objective is to make sure Oakland public officials and government decision-making processes operate in a fair and unbiased manner, to promote transparency in Oakland government, and to promote public trust in our local political system.

The Commission's duties include ensuring compliance with the City of Oakland's government ethics, campaign finance, transparency, and lobbyist registration laws

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