Campaign reports get new look

The Secretary of State's Office has revamped the campaign-contributions and expense reports in an effort to make them easier to fill out and understand.

The reports are required by all candidates for public office in each election cycle. They detail all contributions in excess of $100 and expenses in running for office.

The first report is due before the September primary. The second is supposed to be before the November general election and the third is due in January after the campaign cycle is finished.

But many new candidates have complained the forms are difficult to understand and complete. Others have complained they are often difficult to read.

Secretary of State Dean Heller said his elections staff sought suggestions from lawmakers, journalists and private citizens. One change is a line reporting the amount of cash a candidate has on hand at the beginning of a reporting period. He said that information was requested by journalists and others who wanted to know how much money a candidate has available from a previous reporting period.

The amount of cash on hand added to the amount collected in a reporting period gives a much clearer picture of how much money a candidate has available to spend, he said.

Another category will tell the public how much in expenses has been contracted for, but not yet paid for, in a reporting period.

"The enhancements to the C&E Report forms will better identify how much money a candidate has received and where that money is coming from," said Heller.

He said candidates will get a letter explaining the changes to the forms.


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