Galef Calls for the Computerization of Campaign Finance Records for Local Governments

August 9, 2004

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, 90th AD, is calling on the Senate to pass S.00567 which requires computerization of financial records for candidates for local office. The companion bill A.06562 passed in the Assembly on February 23, 2004. The legislation requires that all local candidates that expect to raise or expend more the $1,000 file their campaign finance statement electronically with the State Board of Elections.

Computerizing campaign funding and contributions is a clear and easy for the public to be able to see where their candidate’s contributions are coming from. By requiring local candidates to computerize their campaign financial information, the public will have better knowledge of those helping to fund campaigns. This system has already been put into place on the state level for state candidates and has been running smoothly. It will also provide a better vehicle to assure that the campaign laws of New York State are being followed.

Local candidates would send their financial records to the State Board of Elections, who would then install them into the computer system. Galef said, "Using this system, there will be no cost to the local officials, and it would enable the State Board of Elections to inspect a campaign contributions in a more efficient way."

The bill also required that judicial candidates file their contributions electronically. There is a strong need for judicial reform in New York State, and by requiring judicial candidates to use this system it would promote public confidence in the candidates. According to the Marist poll 83% of New York registered voters believe that campaign contributions have some or a great deal of influence on judges’ decisions. The first recommendation to promoting public confidence is to have a more open, accessible and timely campaign finance disclosure. By having an electronic system and voter would be able to access these records and feel confident in the candidates.

"Making the entire system electronic can only better the democratic process. People have the right to access this information, and with this system they will be able to do so" concluded Galef.