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Report No. 255

(ii) Comparative provisions governing public funding of elections

Country Public Funding of Election Campaigns
India Partial state funding through in kind subsidies such as free air time on state owned electronic media, free supply of electoral rolls and identity slips, and tax deductions for donations
U.S.A.120
  • No direct or indirect public funding for political parties
  • No public subsidy for congressional elections
  • Partial public funding available for Presidential primary candidates in the form of primary matching grants (up to $250 by an individual) and general elections grants (to the individual candidates.- this results in a ceiling on expenditure
  • On 3rd April 2014, Present Obama signed a law (Public Law No. 113-94) to end public funding of national nominating conventions to eliminate taxpayer financing of political party conventions121
U.K.122
  • Modest public funding of political parties
  • Political parties receive direct public funding over each financial year for policy development purposes up to a total of £2mn on the basis of current legislative representation
  • Indirect support is provided to parties based on the number of candidates put forward in the election, which includes free broadcasting time for party political broadcasts, free postage, meeting rooms, and mail shot to electors
Germany123
  • Public funding to national political parties with tax credits, matching grants (of the amount earned by parties from transparent, private sources), and flat grants to parties based on their past performance
  • Absolute ceiling of public subsidy to all parties, with no subsidy for local party organisations or individual candidates
  • The state "request[s] partial approval" of public subsidy from the tax payers or party supporters, although threshold for access to public funding is "lower than anywhere else in the world"
  • Public subsidies not earmarked for any specific purpose
  • Indirect support in the form of free media access based on the duration and continuity of electoral participation; exemption from income, inheritance, and property tax; and caucus subsidies
Italy124
  • Public subsidies are a "major source" of funding elections, although have been restricted to election campaign activities since 1993
  • Funding is distributed according to the votes polled and is given to candidates
  • The state "request[s] partial approval" of public subsidy from the tax payers or party supporters
  • Indirect, in-kind subsidy in the form of free media access and state aid for radio and newspapers, and reduced rates for sending electoral propaganda material by post to voters
Sweden125
  • " High level" of public subsidies exist for parties at various levels, with each party being given a base amount at the sub- national level, along with additional state aid to party sub-organisations and to party media based on part performance and current representation
  • General subsidy is given to parties, their secretariat and party groups in Parliament alongside regional and local subsidies
  • Public subsidies are given for general party administration and are not earmarked for any specific purpose
  • Indirect subsidies include media access and the party affiliated press receive public support
Australia126
  • Political parties receive direct public funding during the election period and between elections
  • Funding is not ear-marked for a specific purpose and depends on the performance of the party at the previous election

120. IDEA, Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns, HANDBOOK SERIES (2003),
<http://www.idea.int/publications/funding_parties/funding_of_pp.pdf>, at 41-42 (hereinafter "IDEA Report"); FEC, Public Funding of Presidential Elections,
<http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/pubfund.shtml#anchor684182>

121. Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act,
<http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-113publ94/pdf/PLAW-113publ94.pdf>

122. IDEA Report, supra note 120, at 40,42, 213, 218, 219, 223

123. Ibid., at 123, 124, 210, 216, 223

124. IDEA Report, supra note 120, at 118,123, 211, 223

125. Ibid., at 118, 123

126. Ibid., at 209



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