two-thirds of the states have electronic filing programs in
place, there is still a lot of progress to be made in this
area. Seven states received A+ grades in the
Electronic Filing category, one state received an A-, and one
received a B. Seven states received C grades, and three
received Ds. Thirty-one states received Fs, more than
in any other category. The failing states include some
with voluntary electronic filing, due primarily to the value
the Grading State Disclosure criteria places on mandatory
- 20 states have some type of mandatory requirement for
electronic filing of campaign finance reports.
- Of the 20, twelve states require electronic filing by
candidates for both statewide and legislative office, and
eight require electronic filing for statewide candidates
states – Florida, Oregon and Texas – will
waive or allow candidates to opt-out of the mandatory
electronic filing requirement.
- 16 states allow voluntary electronic filing by candidates
for statewide and legislative office.
- 14 states have no electronic filing program.
- Of 36 states with an electronic filing program, 28 say
they have adequate funding for their programs and 35 offer
some type of training or technical assistance to electronic
with the strongest electronic filing programs, in rank
order from one to ten, are: Arizona, Illinois,
Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and Washington (tied);
Wisconsin; California; and Hawaii, Missouri, North Carolina
and Rhode Island (tied).
with no electronic filing (all tied for the last place
rank) are: Alabama,
Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska,
North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,
Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
found that 36 states have programs in place for electronic
filing of campaign finance information. Twenty
states have mandatory requirements for electronic filing
of campaign finance reports. Of the 20, twelve states
require electronic filing by candidates for both statewide
and legislative office, and eight require electronic filing
for statewide office candidates, but offer voluntary programs
for legislative candidates. The thresholds that trigger
mandatory electronic filing vary by state and type of candidate,
and range in amount from zero (Arizona) to $250,000 (Connecticut). Three
of the 20 states with mandatory electronic filing will waive
or allow candidates to opt-out of the electronic filing requirement. Florida
and Oregon will grant waivers if a candidate states he or
she is unable to file electronically, and Texas allows candidates
to opt-out if they state they do not use computers to keep
track of campaign finances.
In addition to those states with mandates for electronic
filing, 16 states offer voluntary electronic filing programs
for statewide and legislative candidates. Fourteen states
have no electronic filing; however one of those states, South
Carolina, recently passed sweeping campaign finance legislation
that includes a legal requirement for electronic filing,
and will have a program in place soon.
the adequacy of funding for electronic filing programs,
the study found that of the 36 state agencies that have
programs in place, a majority, 28, receive enough funding
to successfully carry out those programs. Another
encouraging finding is that 35 of the 36 states with electronic
filing provide some level of training and/or technical support
to filers, with only New Hampshire reporting that it does
not offer that service.
found that most states that require candidates to file
reports electronically also provide free filing software
or a web-based filing system. Just four of the 20
states with an electronic filing requirement do not, and
those are California, Florida, Oregon, (all of which have
put forth a standard filing
format and refer filers to approved
outside software vendors), and Virginia, which charges $35
for its filing software. Web-based filing systems
seem to be the preference of states with voluntary electronic
filing, whereas states with mandatory electronic filing tend
to offer either free software or a combination of software
and web-based filing.