Election Day ballot questions cover political donations, civic engagement, community board term limits

Political candidates may see the maximum donation they can accept cut in half, if voters approve a ballot question in the November election.

The measure is one of three questions approved Tuesday by the New York City Charter Revision Commission, which Mayor Bill de Blasio created to consider public testimony and review the document that guides city government.

The other ballot questions ask voters if the city should create a commission to boost civic engagement in the city by providing better access to voting for New Yorkers with limited English skills and if the city should establish term limits for members of community boards.

The campaign finance proposal is an effort to reduce deep-pocketed donors’ influence on the election process and with politicians.

Candidates for mayor, public advocate and comptroller who receive public finances for their campaigns could receive a maximum of $2,000 from a single contributor in each election cycle, under the proposal. That limit is currently $5,100.

Under the proposal, the maximum for borough president candidates would decrease from $3,950 to $1,500; and for City Council candidates, from $2,850 to $1,000.

The contribution maximums would be slightly higher for candidates who opt out of receiving public financing for their campaigns. In those situations, candidates for mayor, public advocate and comptroller would be limited to $3,500 from a single donor, as opposed to the current $5,100 limit. Candidates for borough president would be able to receive $2,500, down from the current $3,950. And the limit would be $1,500 for City Council candidates, instead of $2,850.

The proposal would also boost the amount of public matching funds for candidates that qualify. Going forward, candidates would be eligible to receive $8 in public financing for every $1 raised privately, up from the current $6-to-$1 ratio. Matching funds would be offered to citywide candidates for the first $250 they receive from each contributor. Those running for borough president and City Council would be able to receive matching funds for the first $175 received from each contributor.

“This Commission set out to identify proposals designed to improve civic life in New York City and, through an extensive and thoughtful process, that is just what we have done,” Cesar Perales, chair of the Charter Revision Commission said in a statement, adding that the proposals “will provide the voters with an opportunity to weigh in on changes that would impact several important aspects of civic life.”