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

Existing 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 44 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 over 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 allow county boards of elections to make campaign finance reports available to the public online. Senate Bill 44 would open the same database to county boards of elections, creating access to campaign finance reports for state and local candidates in the same place for those candidates who file electronically. Adding to the current database would save the public from having to search for campaign finance data in two different places, streamlining the filing requirements for candidates and eliminate unnecessary paperwork for local boards of elections.

 “Electronic reporting would provide easier access and transparency for the public while easing the burden on the limited auditing staff of county boards of elections,” said Senator LaRose. “It would also make the process easier for those that file the often laborious reports.”

Senator LaRose introduced this legislation which passed the Senate unanimously during the 131st General Assembly, but did not pass the House of Representatives. The bill was supported by the Ohio Association of Election Officials.
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"These audits will ensure that every Ohioan can be confident that their vote is accurately counted," said Senator LaRose. "The evolution of technology presents both opportunities and vulnerabilities. It is our responsibility to maintain a constant vigilance to protect the integrity of our elections. With this best-in-class technique in place, Ohioans can be sure that our state is leading the way in the fight against fraud.”