Local News

County candidate reports to be available electronically

SEBRING - For Highlands County candidates, a new requirement: file all financial reports electronically.

But for the public, a new benefit: every report filed by a candidate will be available online.

"Everything will be available electronically," said Elections Supervisor Penny Ogg.

When a candidate files for office, there's a form. When they name a treasurer, there's a form. Those are already available at the Florida Division of Elections website by candidates for Congress, governor, attorney general, chief financial officer, commissioner of agriculture, state attorney, public defender, state senator and state representative.

Click on "Campaign Finance Activity," and incumbent Sen. Bill Galvano's or Rep. Cary Pigman's contributions, donor names, expenditures, loans, transfers and in-kind contributions pop up. Neither has drawn an opponent yet, but there are, for instance, 25 candidates for governor - not including Rick Scott or Charlie Crist - and all their documents are available electronically.

Now, the county elections website will carry the same level of information for every candidate, Ogg said.

"County officers and candidates for county office are required by law to file, with the Supervisor of Elections of that county, regular monthly reports of all contributions received and all expenditures made by, or on behalf of, such a candidate," says state law.

On Tuesday, county commissioners adopted a resolution to require county officers and candidates to electronically file those reports.

But that same requirement, Ogg says, gives candidates a smidge of extra time. "They can do it from their own home, and they can do it until midnight. The software will help them to catch typos."

The Florida Elections website for state and district candidates is at http://election.dos.state.fl.us/candidate/index.asp

The Highlands County Elections website is at www.votehighlands.com/