COLUMBUS -- Local elections officials would be allowed to accept campaign finance reports electronically, under legislation being considered in the Ohio Senate.
Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) offered comparable legislation last session that passed the Senate and a House committee but was not finalized before the end of the year. He reintroduced the proposed law changes earlier this year as SB 44, expanding offices that are allowed to file required campaign finance disclosures electronically.
The secretary of state's office already allows online filing for some offices, but state law does not authorize county boards to accept the documentation electronically. Instead, those documents are required to be submitted in paper form.
Under SB 44, counties could opt to allow electronic filing for candidates for local offices and the state school board, with provisions to forward information to the secretary of state.
"I would like to see a point in time reached where we make that kind of electronic filing mandatory, but that's not the scope of this bill right now," LaRose said. "Again, this would be permissive."
Any resulting filings also would have to be posted online for public review.
"It's obviously much more efficient and it creates more accountability because Ohioans can download those reports, they can investigate them, they can search them," LaRose said. "It's important for people that ask the public for their vote to also disclose the sources of their campaign finances as well as the way they are spending those funds."
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.