Pennsylvania House passes bill to require electronically filed campaign finance reports

Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives approved legislation Tuesday to require candidates for a state office to file their campaign finance reports electronically, instead of on paper.

The bill passed on party lines, 102-101, with Democrats in favor and Republicans against. The bill goes to the state Senate, which is considering its own version of similar legislation.

Many candidates and PACs already file reports electronically, sponsors said.

Paper filing is costly and inefficient, and moving to an entirely electronic model would reduce costs, sponsors said.

Critics of paper campaign finance filings say the documents must undergo a data-entry process to put the information online, creating the potential for inserting errors into the information and delays in making the information available to the public.

The measure removes the requirement of filing with the county board of elections. It would also allow for remaining campaign funds to be donated to nonprofits.

The state Department of State, which oversees election administration in Pennsylvania, would be responsible for maintaining a searchable site for filing, and any training associated with using the database for campaigns.

The measure would increase the late filing fees for missing deadlines to $20 per day for the first six days late and $100 per day for day seven and each day after. There would be a maximum penalty of $500.

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