Grading State Disclosure 2004 Logo Graphic

A l a b a m a


golden bar divider

Campaign Disclosure Law
Electronic Filing Program
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual & Technical Usability

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

golden bar divider

The State of Disclosure in Alabama

Alabama received its fourth consecutive F and ranked 49th overall in Grading State Disclosure 2007, dropping 15 places in the Online Contextual and Technical Usability category rankings.

Alabama’s disclosure law ranked 48th overall in 2007. Alabama failed again to strengthen its campaign disclosure law, despite bills introduced in 2007’s contentious regular legislative session to enact electronic filing and to ban transfers between political action committees. Contributing to the consistently low rank in the law category are a lack of mandatory auditing of campaign statements and a lack of independent expenditure reporting. The law does require the disclosure of the names and addresses of contributors, but candidates are not required to disclose a contributor’s occupation or employer, the campaign’s itemized debts or expenditures made by subvendors.

Very little has changed on Alabama’s disclosure web site since the 2005 assessment, and the problems outlined in previous Grading State Disclosure reports still exist. To improve access to online campaign finance reports, the agency might start by streamlining the process for viewing scanned PDF images of reports, and shortening the number of steps required to get to the various schedules of each report. For example, prior to viewing requested data, a screen appears stating, “The document you requested…has 31 pages… size is 1310K. Click the link below and the document will open in approximately 15 seconds.” This extra step could likely be removed as most files take just 1-2 seconds to open.

Continuing the decline from a relatively high Online Contextual and Technical Usability grade in 2004, Alabama received an F in 2007 and ranked 40th in this category. Driven lower by poorer performance in the usability testing, Alabama’s disclosure site also lacks a number of contextual features that make disclosure sites more user-friendly. For example, specific dates covered by reports are not listed, overviews comparing candidates’ financial activities are not available, and amended reports are labeled as “Other”, rather than “Amended” reports. While the Secretary of State’s site does offer helpful instructions, greater contextual usability could be achieved with the addition of a detailed description of which candidates’ reports are available for viewing online.

Quick Fix: Provide the reporting period’s start and end dates within the index of a candidate’s reports.

Editor’s Pick: Clear and prominent “View Campaign Finance Reports” link on the Secretary of State’s homepage. View image

Disclosure Agency: Secretary of State
Disclosure Web Site:

View past summaries of this state

View another state's summary:

Back to the Grading State Disclosure home page

First published October 16, 2007
| Last updated October 17, 2007
Campaign Disclosure Project. All rights reserved.