(a) The Board finds that public access to campaign disclosure information is a vital and integral component of a fully informed electorate. Transparency in campaign financing is critical in order to maintain public trust and support of the political process.
(b) State law requires candidates, persons supporting or opposing ballot measures and certain other types of political committees to file campaign finance statements with the Registrar of Voters detailing the sources of contributions and manner of expenditure of contributions. Government Code Section 84615 authorizes local jurisdictions to require the filing of campaign statements and reports solely in an electronic form, with a specified exemption. The purpose of these laws is to assist voters in making informed electoral decisions and to assist in ensuring compliance with campaign contributions laws. In any instance in which the original statement, report, or other document is required to be filed with the Secretary of State and a copy of that statement, report, or other documents is required to be filed with the local government agency, the filer is exempt from filing the statement electronically as provided by Government Code Section 84615.
(c) Frequently, these disclosure reports are lengthy. Moreover, hundreds of such reports may be filed with the Registrar of Voters office each reporting period. It is difficult for members of the public, the media and election officials efficiently to review and compare these statements.
(d) The Board makes the following findings in support of requiring that political committees and candidates that meet certain financial thresholds file their campaign statements electronically:
(1) An electronic system reduces paper waste and time spent processing and storing paper filings, so that efforts can be focused on helping filers comply with filing requirements.
(2) An electronic system is not unduly burdensome on candidates in that it reduces the need for candidates to print out and physically mail statements to the Registrar of Voters office, and it eases the entry of contributors’ information for that the system recognizes repeat contributors and automatically populates their information.
(3) The system used by the County contains multiple safeguards to protect the integrity and security of the data and is operated securely and effectively.
(4) An electronic system streamlines the filing process by storing information previously entered, calculating numbers, and helping catch errors before filings are submitted.
(5) Once disclosures are placed online, they are easily accessible for public viewing and allow the public to search reports by field, including, but not limited to, election, candidate, date, contributor and expenditure. (Ord. 2680, § 1, 8/10/2021)