SEATTLE -- Seattle is about to embark on a brand new experiment to help regular people participate in their government.
A new program, known as "Democracy Vouchers," will roll out starting in January 2017.
The program lets ordinary people give money to political candidates without actually spending any of their own money.
"We know the perception is out there that money decides who makes it to the general election," said Wayne Barnett, head of the city's ethics and elections commission. "This will give people with moderate means the opportunity to say, hey, I want to support this candidate."
The program, known as Initiative 122, gives people four vouchers worth $25 each. Voters can distribute those vouchers to the candidates of their choice.
It was approved by voters in November 2015.
The city will fund the vouchers through a property tax that will cost a median homeowner about $12.50 per year.
You will not be able to give vouchers away anonymously.
"I-122 will transform campaign financing rules for candidates running for City Council and City Attorney positions in the 2017 Seattle elections," according to a post on the new program on the city's website.
Beginning in 2021, voters can use the vouchers for the mayor's race.
The City of Seattle created a webpage that addresses many frequently asked questions about the program.