The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is encouraging state lawmakers to allow candidates to file campaign finance information electronically. Under current law people submitting campaign finance reports with county boards of elections must submit their records on paper.
Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Pat McDonald is the administrator of the largest voting jurisdiction in Ohio and supports changing the law outlined in Senate Bill 44. McDonald offered testimony today during a hearing of the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform committee on this matter.
“The time has come to take advantage of modern technology and allow all candidates and elected officials to file their campaign finance reports electronically,” said McDonald. “If these reports were submitted with electronic website forms it would save filers the trouble of dropping off paperwork and cut down on the time it takes for our staff to handle paper records. This would also allow easy access to campaign finance records that are not always available on the web.”
Changing the law will create greater transparency by making it easier to identify how campaigns raise and spend money in all parts of the state. The filing system allows for anyone to quickly and easily search individual donors, donations, expenditures, or loans, simply by entering a last name or a portion of a campaign committee’s name.
The public already has the ability to review reports from state candidates through the Secretary of State’s website. However, only Ohio’s largest voting jurisdictions, including Cuyahoga County offer campaign records online. “So it just makes sense to have all records available using this method. I am calling on lawmakers to remove the paper-only requirement that still regulates municipal, county and local candidates and campaign committees that file with county boards of elections,” said McDonald.
State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) re-introduced this legislation on February 10, 2017 which passed the Senate unanimously during the 131st General Assembly, but did not pass the House of Representatives. The bill was supported by the Ohio Association of Election Officials.
Author: Mike West, Media and Voter Education Specialist, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections