BENNINGTON -- Vermonters will soon be able to tell how much state political candidates, action committees, and parties are spending on their campaigns as their reports get filed electronically.
Secretary of State Jim Condos announced the creation of the Vermont Campaign Finance Information System, which can be found at www.campaignfinance.sec.state.vt.us. It allows campaign finance reports to be filed online, and lets the public view them as they are filed.
For now, using they system is optional, but starting Jan. 1, 2015, political entities will be required to use it to file their reports.
"The next couple months will give candidates a chance to acclimate to the new system at their own speed," Condos said in a release. "It will also give the public a glance at what is to come once we have mandatory usage in January 2015: A huge boost for transparency in the electoral system."
According to Condos' office, the system is one step in a series of electronic upgrades which started in February. In addition to the finance filing system the effort includes a voter registration checklist, election management, and lobbyist disclosure. The entire platform costs $2.8 million, which includes the maintenance, support, and hosting of all five applications over the next 10 years. Most of that is being funded federally through the Help America Vote Act, which provides $2.1 million. Building the campaign finance system costs $168,000.
"The launch of this system brings Vermont to the forefront of the growing movement to bring greater transparency to campaign financing," said Condos. " I am pleased to provide Vermonters with this powerful tool to gain more meaningful access to the very important information contained in campaign finance disclosures."
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.