Voters need all the tools they can get |

Voters need all the tools they can get

Campaign finance reports are an important tool for Nevada voters, but they’re not nearly as useful as they should be.

Each candidate must file three reports, which detail how much money they have, who contributed and how much they’ve spent. The reports lay bare a candidate’s connections and may reveal who they’ll be beholding to if elected.

Of the three reports, the second, which was due Tuesday, is critical because it details the bulk of the campaign financing, listing individuals and groups who contributed $100 or more.

The problem is that the reports only have to be postmarked on Oct. 31. By the time those sent through the mail arrive at the Secretary of State’s Office and are processed, it’s too late for voters to gain any meaningful data from them before Election Day. And many voters have already cast their votes through early voting, which ends Friday.

The reports from both Dina Titus and Jim Gibbons, for example, were not available on Tuesday.

The solution is simple: Either make the deadlines earlier for the sake of early voters, or at least require that the reports be delivered, rather than postmarked, on deadline day. In the age of e-mail and faxes, there’s no reason to be sending the reports through snail mail.

Meanwhile, if you want to research the contributions to a candidate, visit the Web site and select the “Elections” option. From there, select “C&E/Financial Disclosure Search” and type in the name of the candidate.

If the candidate knows how to use the Internet, you should have a wealth of information to help you on Election Day.