The New York Times The New York Times Washington November 25, 2002  

Home
Job Market
Real Estate
Automobiles
News
International
National
Washington
- Campaigns
Business
Technology
Science
Health
Sports
New York Region
Education
Weather
Obituaries
NYT Front Page
Corrections
Opinion
Editorials/Op-Ed
Readers' Opinions


Features
Arts
Books
Movies
Travel
Dining & Wine
Home & Garden
Fashion & Style
New York Today
Crossword/Games
Cartoons
Magazine
Week in Review
Multimedia/Photos
College
Learning Network
Services
Archive
Classifieds
Book a Trip
Personals
Theater Tickets
NYT Store
NYT Mobile
E-Cards & More
About NYTDigital
Jobs at NYTDigital
Member_Center
Your Profile
E-Mail Preferences
News Tracker
Premium Account
Site Help
Privacy Policy
Newspaper
Home Delivery
Customer Service
Electronic Edition
Media Kit
Community Affairs
Text Version

Discover New Topics in Depth


$7 Online Market Orders and 170 Offices


25 COMMISSION-FREE TRADES Join Ameritrade today!


Go to Advanced Search/ArchiveGo to Advanced Search/ArchiveSymbol Lookup
Search Options divide
go to Member Center Log Out
  Welcome, paulryder1

Online Campaign Fund Reports Prove Popular

By REBECCA FAIRLEY RANEY

In the last five years, new technology has pushed data about campaign contributors out of file cabinets into the around-the-clock visibility of the Web. Many states adopted the new electronic filing systems with reservations, but most state election officials reported in a survey released today that they worked well, saved money and were popular with the public.

The officials also reported strong satisfaction with the new systems among candidates and the news media. The survey, by the Center of Governmental Studies, a nonprofit research group in Los Angeles, covered officials in 50 states, six cities and six Canadian provinces.

"We used to have crowds of reporters waiting for copies," said Lee Daghlian, director of public information for the New York Board of Elections in Albany. "Now, no one shows up here."

The survey found that 46 states and the federal government collected campaign financial disclosure statements with computer technology. Most of those states post some of that information on their Web sites. Twenty states require candidates and committees to file electronically if they raise or spend a certain amount of money.

In some states, candidates may choose whether to file reports on paper or electronically. Officials in some of those states, including Florida and New Mexico, indicated in the survey that they wanted to make electronic filing mandatory.

"We're learning that if it's not mandatory, most filers won't take the time to do it," said Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies. In many cases, Mr. Stern said, candidates fear that making the data public faster places them at a disadvantage.

The survey found that most criticism of electronic filing involved technical issues. Several officials said they needed more oversight of software vendors, more technical expertise in their offices and more testing of the computer programs.

Many state legislatures have fought over computer filing and Internet disclosure. In California, six bills to approve electronic disclosure were killed in three years. The seventh bill passed in 1997.

Opponents argued that the systems were costly, would create more work for government and invaded contributors' privacy.

In the 28 jurisdictions with figures available, the median cost of setting up the systems was $164,000. The costs ranged from less than $25,000 in Arizona and Alaska to more than $1 million in California. For the 20 jurisdictions in which the figures were available, the median annual budget for the programs was $87,500.

New York State started requiring candidates to file financial reports electronically in 1999. The state issues free software to help them do so. Once filed, the reports are posted on the Internet.

Mr. Daghlian said the greater disclosure encouraged more accurate reporting. "The public looks at it, so what's filed is of better quality and more honest," he said.






Doing research? Search the archive for more than 500,000 articles:




E-Mail This Article
Printer-Friendly Format
Most E-Mailed Articles
Reprints

Click Here to Receive 50% Off Home Delivery of The New York Times Newspaper.


Home | Back to Washington | Search | Corrections | Help | Back to Top


Copyright The New York Times Company | Permissions | Privacy Policy
E-Mail This Article
Printer-Friendly Format
Most E-Mailed Articles
Reprints

Advertisement


Topics

 Alerts
United States Politics and Government
Computers and The Internet
Science and Technology
Create Your Own | Manage Alerts
Sign Up for Newsletters


Circuits: How Electronic Things Work

Price: $29.95. Learn More.



The latest Mutual Funds Report is now available at NYTimes.com. The Times takes a look at the dismal third quarter, as well as where things may be headed.
Click here to read the report.





Search by Zip Code:

Sign up for E-Mail Alerts,
Luxury & Vacation Homes
Hamptons
Florida
Wine Country
Western States
More...

Mortgage & Moving Services