SACRAMENTO (CN) – Supporting a political candidate in California is now as easy as voting for the next American Idol, as the state became the first in the nation this week to allow campaign contributions by text message.
Approved by the California Fair Political Practices Commission in October, the new rules are now in effect. It is up to wireless carriers and the candidates to implement the systems necessary to accept text message contributions, according to the commission.
The commission says it hopes this development will broaden voter participation and open the political process to citizens who don’t normally participate, just as charities and nonprofit agencies that accept donations via text message have made it easier for citizens to support disaster.
Similar legislation passed in Maryland is expected to take effect early next year. Ann Ravel, chairwoman for the California agency, wants more states on board.
“It would be great to have lots of states across the country allow text messaging of political contributions so there will be enough interest and pressure to encourage phone companies to participate,” Ravel said. “The idea of encouraging civic engagement is very important to me and I see it as part of our mission.”