Monday, December 02, 2013

UIS professor explores the impact of public election financing on campaigns in new book

University of Illinois Springfield Assistant Professor of Political Science Michael G. Miller examines the impact of state-level public election financing on political campaigns through the eyes of candidates in a new book.

In the book, Subsidizing Democracy: How Public Funding Changes Elections and How It Can Work in the Future (Cornell University Press, 2014), insights are drawn from survey data obtained from more than 1,000 candidates, elite interview testimony, and twenty years of election data.

The presence of publicly funded candidates in elections, Miller finds, results in broad changes to the electoral system, including more interaction between candidates and the voting public and significantly higher voter participation. He presents evidence that by providing new candidates with resources that would have been unobtainable otherwise, subsidies effectively manufacture quality challengers. Miller describes how matching-fund provisions of “Clean Election” laws were pervasively manipulated by candidates and parties and were ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court.

Miller wrote the book in the wake of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) case, which ruled corporate and union spending was allowed in elections. The Supreme Court later declared the matching funds feature of so-called “Clean Election” public financing laws unconstitutional, but there has been no strong challenge to the constitutionality of public funding as such. Subsidizing Democracy concludes with an evaluation of existing proposals for future election policy in light of his findings.

Miller holds a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. At UIS, he holds a joint appointment in the Department of Political Science and the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies.

The book is available for purchase from Cornell University Press. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Michael G. Miller at 217/206-7220 or

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