A study put out by the nonpartisan, non-profit Center for Governmental Studies has shown that publicly funded elections on the municipal level of Albuquerque resulted in decreased money spent in the elections and campaigns, and even more importantly, an increased emphasis on the actual issues.
In the Albuquerque mayoral race of 2009, all three candidates used the publicly financed system, and others said they would use it in the future. The premise that candidates show their viability for candidacy through collecting small amounts (in this case $5), from their constituents and also collecting signatures, ensures that the people who vote not only have a stronger connection to their public officials, but also that the candidates themselves can spend less time fund raising and more time doing what the people elected them to do!
Saving money is something garners respect for public officals when many constituencies are feeling the pinch of the recession.
Of course, the system is still being perfected, but the success of publicly funded in a city as large as Albuquerque provides strong encouragement to other cities and states pursuing similar measures, especially as cities and states everywhere look to squeeze money out of thin air.
Fitting, then, is the pun that the Center for Governmental Studies uses to describe Albuquerque's Open and Ethical Elections program, calling it "richly reward[ing]"