Grading State Disclosure 2008 Logo Graphic

K e n t u c k y

Honor
Grade
Rank
B-

21


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Subcategories
Grade
Rank
Campaign Disclosure Law
B+
11
Electronic Filing Program
F
31
Disclosure Content Accessibility
B-
26
Online Contextual & Technical Usability
B-
16

Grading Process green cube Subcategory Weighting green cube Methodology green cube Glossary

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The State of Disclosure in Kentucky

Kentucky improved from a C+ in 2007 to a B- in 2008, but dropped one place in the rankings since 2007. The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance’s web site was redesigned in 2007, and the state earned a B- in the web site usability category, up from a C+ in 2007 and an F in 2003.

Kentucky performed best in the Campaign Disclosure Law category, earning a B+ again in 2008. Candidates must itemize contributions of $100 or more, including occupation and employer data. Expenditures over $25 must also be itemized, and reports include both subvendor data and accrued expenditures. For the second year in a row, the legislature failed to pass a bill requiring electronic filing by all statewide and legislative candidates who raise $25,000. The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (KREF), however, operates a strong voluntary electronic filing program that was used by 75 percent of statewide candidates and 56 percent of legislative candidates in the 2007 general election. The KREF’s web site features excellent electronic filing tutorials, brochures, and helpful hints pages, both encouraging candidates to take advantage of electronic filing, and supporting those who do.

Kentucky earned its third straight B- in the Disclosure Content Accessibility category and ranked 26th again in 2008. The KREF’s web site features a searchable contributions database containing records from electronically-filed reports and paper reports that have been data-entered by agency staff. The database is searchable by donor name, employer, and zip code, as well as the date and amount of individual contributions, and search results can be downloaded for offline analysis but cannot be sorted online. The lack of an online, searchable database of campaign expenditures is the main weakness in this area. Further, itemized expenditures are only available online for electronic filers; expenditures reported on paper are not data-entered or scanned and posted online.

Kentucky earned a B- in the web site usability category, up from a C+ in 2007. Kentucky performed slightly better on the 2008 usability test as testers were able to complete their tasks more quickly than in 2007, possibly due to improved navigation on the redesigned disclosure site. The new site is much more attractive and features both text and graphic icons to aid navigation. Site visitors are presented with thorough instructions and tutorials for accessing data, as well as clear descriptions of what is and is not available through the searchable database. Kentucky offers a user-friendly system for viewing amended transactions: rather than simply labeling the whole report as amended, individual transactions are labeled and users can view the original transaction in a pop-up window.

Quick Fix: Allow database search results to be sorted online.

Editor’s Pick: A prominent “Search” icon on the homepage provides easy navigation to disclosure reports and the contributions database. View image

Disclosure Agency: Kentucky Registry of Election Finance
Disclosure Web Site:
http://kref.ky.gov

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First published September 17, 2008
| Last updated September 17 2008
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Campaign Disclosure Project. All rights reserved.