October 18, 2006

The run-up to this year's midterm election smells of scandal and corruption, which raises the question: Can anyone stop the influence of big money and big influence on political campaigns? Before, you say "of course not," watch the weekly newsmagazine NOW on PBS on Friday, October 20, for a special hour-long investigation into the fight to keep American elections free and fair across the country.

Airing less than three weeks before Americans go to the polls, "Votes for Sale?" will spotlight the so-called Clean Elections movement, a radical experiment adopted in Maine and Arizona to revolutionize how campaigns are conducted. It may not only help clean up politics, but also open the door for more average Americans to run for office and win.

NOW also looks at a contentious California vote initiative, Proposition 89, with the same mission of cleaning up campaigns. But will "politics of the people" be a clean democratic step forward or a messy economic step backward? NOW travels across the country to find out.

Starting this Friday, the NOW website at www.pbs.org/now will offer a special state-by-state voter tool to help Americans see how political funds are being collected and spent in their own cities and neighborhoods.

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