COLUMBUS- State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley) today introduced legislation to ensure greater transparency in local elections by requiring campaign finance reports to be filed electronically with county boards of elections.

Currently, Ohio law does not authorize county boards of elections to permit electronic filing, even on a voluntary basis. Unlike the Ohio Secretary of State, which manages an online campaign finance reporting system for candidates and campaign committees that file with that office, local boards of elections are not authorized to do the same.

Senate Bill 206 would remove the paper-only filing requirement that still regulates political candidates and campaign committees that file with local boards of elections.

"The concept is pretty straightforward," said Senator LaRose. "This bill will update Ohio's campaign finance law to allow local entities to join a system that has operated smoothly for 15 years. There is no good reason to deny the public the opportunity to view local campaign finance reports online when state reports are already available."

The legislation would require county boards of elections to make campaign finance reports available to the public online. Like the current requirement for state records on the Secretary of State's online campaign finance database, local filing information must be searchable, viewable and accessible through the Internet. The bill builds on the current database maintained by the Secretary of State.

The Ohio Association of Election Officials (OAEO) has been a longtime proponent of extending electronic reporting to the local level. 

Shawn Stevens, member of the Delaware County Board of Elections and President of the OAEO, said, "Ohio has taken numerous steps in recent years to modernize our elections system and make it more transparent to the public. Senator LaRose’s legislation is the next logical step in this process. It reduces needless paperwork for boards of elections, streamlines filing requirements for candidates and makes campaign finance data easier to access for the public. We look forward to working with Senator LaRose and both parties in the Ohio General Assembly on this common sense legislation.”

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