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NRI qualifies for poll programme

india Updated: Jun 15, 2007 12:28 IST

IANS
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An Indian American woman candidate for New Jersey State Senate has become the first person to qualify in the state's Fair and Clean Elections pilot programme, a system of government financing of political campaigns in the US.

Seema Singh, who is a Democratic candidate from the 14th District constituency, Wednesday said she filed 400 contributions at $10 each to become a qualified candidate in the pilot programme, a press release said.

Under the Clean Elections programme, candidates hoping to receive public financing must collect a certain number of small "qualifying contributions" (often as little as $5) from registered voters. In return, they are paid a flat sum by the government to run their campaigns and agree not to raise money from private sources.

Once the New Jersey Elections Law Enforcement Commission certifies all 400 contributions, Singh will receive a $46,000 grant from the state to fund her campaign for the elections, due in November.

"This programme has allowed me as a first-time candidate the opportunity to enter the race with a level playing field," Seema Singh said.

The 45-year-old immigrated to New Jersey in 1984 and went to Rutgers University and Seton Hall Law School. She practised international law with a focus on Indian and Asian communities.

Her big break came in 2002 when she became the first Indian to hold a New Jersey cabinet position.

She's one of a record number of women running for public office in the state this year.