Attorney and author Kathy Biehl practiced law privately in Houston, Texas for 18½ years before relocating to New York City in 1998. She has taught legal research and writing at the University of Houston Law Center and business law at Rice University. A member of the State Bar of Texas, she earned a B.A. with highest honors from Southern Methodist University and a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law, where she was a member of Texas Law Review and Order of the Coif. She is co-author of The Lawyer’s Guide to Internet Research (Scarecrow Press, Nov. 2000), with Tara Calishain.
Each edition of Research Roundup will pull together related, practical online services that take outstanding advantage of the convenience and efficiency of the Internet.
Portions of this column are excerpted from the Lawyer’s Guide to Internet Research (Tara Calishain, co-author), to be published this fall by Scarecrow Press.
RoundUp#1: Searchable IP Databases
RoundUp#2 : Slip Opinions Listservers
RoundUp#3 : Bill Tracking Resources
RoundUp#4 : Business Filings Databases
RoundUp#5 : Federal/State/Territory Sites with Election Resources
RoundUp#6 : Searchable IP Databases – Updated
RoundUp#7: Slip Opinion Listservers – Updated
Federal, State & U.S. Territory Sites With Election Resources
In honor of the first Tuesday in November, this edition of Research RoundUp catalogues federal, state, and U.S. territory sites with election resources. All include some level of basic information about the upcoming ballots, as well as voter registration and filing for office. Many also provide databases of lobbyists, political action committees, and campaign finance disclosure reports. And if you’d like to follow election night returns without the commentary and predictions that fill television coverage, a few sites offer an online alternative. Although the results will eventually be available on almost all these sites, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, and Washington have announced that they will be supplying online access to vote tallies during election night itself.
One linguistic note at the outset: For consistency’s sake I will use the Anglicized plural of referendum, referendums, because it is the form of choice among the state sites.
The Federal Election Commission offers many routes of access to campaign finance filings by house, senate, and presidential campaigns, political parties, and political action committees, since 1993.
It’s possible to view paper or electronically filed reports or search the database for selected contributions. Extensive information is also available by campaign and committee for the current year. Registration and reporting forms, reporting dates, results for the previous two general federal elections, and a variety of FEC publications are also online.
Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / D.C. / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Montana / Mississippi / Missouri / Nebraska / Nevada / New Jersey/ New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma /Oregon / Pennsylvania / Puerto Rico /Rhode Island / South Carolina / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming
Alabama : The Secretary of State 2000 Election Information includes the candidate list and proposed statewide and local constitutional amendments for the upcoming election. The page also contains some data about previous elections this year (such as searchable databases of election night returns and candidate lists for the primary) and general voter’s information.
Alaska : For the current election, the Division of Elections offers absentee ballot forms and filing instructions, as well as overviews of candidates, arguments for and against ballot measures, and evaluations of judicial candidates. Scroll down the page for election results, which date back to 1994. The site contains extensive general information, such as calendars, polling places, and pertinent regulations and statutes.
Arizona : The Elections Department of the Secretary of State offers ballot measures (including fiscal impact analyses) and a list of candidates for the upcoming election, as well as results from the primary. Among the other resources are campaign finance data (including a searchable database of political action committees) and a lobbyist search engine.
Arkansas : The Secretary of State’s Elections Department has candidate information and certified ballot issues, election calendars and results, and information about absentee ballots and voter registration. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a link to a search engine for financial disclosure filings
California : The Secretary of State’s Elections Division posts candidate lists, texts of ballot pamphlets, election results, and information about absentee voting, filing for office, and handbooks concerning recall or election fraud.
Colorado : The Secretary of State’s Elections Center has search engines for candidates, committee reports, and candidate financial transactions. The center accepts online registration of candidacies. Take the link to Static Information to access candidate lists, initiatives, election calendars, election results, a roster of registered lobbyists, and forms for voter registration and absentee ballots.
Connecticut : The Secretary of the State’s Election Services posts election results, absentee ballot and voter registration information and forms, electronic and paper campaign finance reports, and the election calendar.
Delaware: The Commissioner of Elections resources begin with primary election results, a polling place locator, and an election calendar. The site also offers voter registration information, school election forms and a calendar, and a table of offices up for election (from federal down to city). To retrieve summaries of campaign finance reports, choose Public Reports under Campaign Finance Information System.
District of Columbia: The Board of Elections and Ethics posts the times and locations of polling places, the results of previous elections, and information about elected officials, voter registration, and applying to be a candidate. The Elections 2000 link includes a calendar of elections, candidate lists, and voter instructions in English and Spanish. There’s a link to the Office of Campaign Finance, which posts a guide and forms.
Florida : The Department of State’s Division of Elections offers election results (a heading is already in place for November 2000), a list of offices up for election, election calendars, and searchable databases of campaign finance records, candidates (including federal), and political committees. It’s also possible to check the status and requirements for initiative petitions.
Georgia : The Elections Division of the Secretary of State has the current candidate list and absentee ballot forms, as well as election results, campaign contribution disclosure reports, forms for voter registration and notices of candidacy, and links to the Federal Election Commission and the State Ethics Commission (which has lists of lobbyists and their expenditures).
Hawaii : The Office of Elections posts unofficial summary reports of election results by county; headings are already in place for the November ballot. An absentee ballot, voter registration form, and application for nomination papers are available. The Useful Internet Links include a pointer to the Campaign Spending Commission, which offers access to electronic filings by candidates.
Idaho : The Election Division of the Secretary of State has a box in place to post the results of the upcoming election by federal and state office. The page also has proposed initiatives and constitutional amendments, lists of federal and state legislative candidates, a searchable database of campaign finance reports, rosters of lobbyists, and voter registration and other general information.
Illinois : The State Board of Elections offers searchable databases of candidates, election results, political committees, and campaign contributions (which covers some committees only, through 1998). For more recent contributor information, browse the latest electronically filed reports. In addition to general voter registration information, the site has a search tool for locating an elected official or district by address.
Indiana : Besides election results, the Elections Division of the Secretary of State posts a variety of election guides, candidate lists, and a searchable database of campaign finance reports. To browse the roster of registered lobbyists, take the on the Campaign Finance page to the Lobby Registration Commission.
Iowa : The Elections and Voter Registration Division of the Secretary of State has election calendars through 2002, a list of candidates and statement of the constitutional question for the November 7 election (under Election Information), official vote tallies, candidacy forms, and voter registration information.
Kansas : The Elections and Legislative Matters Division of the Secretary of State posts an election calendar and information sheet (which contains a list of offices to be filled), election results, and information about advance voting.
Kentucky : The Secretary of State’s Election Division offers a Telnet-based election night tally system (look under Voter and Election Information). The site explains in great detail how to access the system, but does not disclose as of what time results will become available. Among the site’s other unusual features is including e-mail addresses, where available, in its list of candidates. The page offers an election calendar, results, summaries of recent legislation that affects elections in the state, and general voter information. Take the link to the Registry of Election Finance to view campaign financial reports.
Louisiana : The Department of Elections and Registration posts the current year election calendar and extensive information about absentee voting, voter registration, and fraud investigations. The post-election statistics are not vote tallies, but breakdowns of voting by party and race.
Maine : The Secretary of State’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions has a list of candidates, ballot referendum questions, and electoral college information for the upcoming election. It reports prior vote tabulations and gives information about voter registration, absentee ballots, and municipal elections. The candidate reporting forms heading links to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Practices site, which does not make public filings available online.
Maryland : The State Board of Elections posts lists of candidates and offices on the ballot as well as statewide and local ballot questions for the upcoming election. Election results appear under Past Elections. Campaign finance reports are available in a series of large charts (with extremely small type) that are organized by the contribution’s size or source; a searchable database is promised to be coming.
Massachusetts : For this November, the Elections Division posts the ballot questions and offices up for election. The official results of the November 1998 election are available, but their publication (December 11, 1998) suggests that this year’s tally may not be up shortly after the vote. The site’s guides cover voter registration, absentee ballots, running for office, and more. Take the Office of Campaign and Political Finance link to view images of financial reports filed by legislative candidates and search a database of contributors.
Michigan : The Electronic Voter Guide of the Bureau of Elections of the Department of State lists federal and state candidates and statewide ballot proposals. Election results will appear under 2000 Election Information heading, which is under Election Information & Administration. Campaign finance statements filed by committees are online, as are the filing forms for committees and for lobbyists and for persons with casino interests (who are prohibited from making state and local political contributions).
Minnesota : The Secretary of State posts calendars and a list of candidates for the upcoming election, as well as a voter’s guide and a search tool for locating polling places. Financial information is available from the Campaign Finance and Public Disclose Board, which also maintains lists of lobbyists. The link to this board appears under Campaign Practices/Finances, which has reporting forms. The site also offers voter registration and absentee ballot information.
Mississippi : For the November election, the Secretary of State Elections Division has an calendar, a list of candidates, and the initiatives on the ballot. Under Election Results there is a pull-down menu for primaries and elections in 1999 and 2000; a choice is not yet in place for November 2000. Campaign Finance contains reports for statewide candidates, grouped by filing dates, as well as the filing forms. The Lobbying heading has searchable directories of lobbyists and clients, as well as a search engine for compensation reports.
Missouri : The November 7 returns will be available online from the Office of the Secretary of State starting on election night itself. Visitors will be able to view all returns or sort the database by a number of parameters, such as county, ballot issues, statewide offices, district and court. The office leads off its home page with other resources related to the upcoming election: the certified candidate list (with a few links to candidate Websites), additions and removals of candidates to and from the ballot, the text of ballot measures, and an absentee ballot request. Scroll down the index to reach the main election page, which houses a calendar, list of offices being elected, candidate filing guidelines, and other general information.
Montana: The Secretary of State offers candidate lists, an election calendar, ballot issues, and election results (which show state or legislative candidates by county). The site also lists legislators affected by term limits and explains voter registration, absentee balloting, and filing to run.
Nebraska : The Secretary of State divides its election results postings by party and nonpartisan race. Also online are the election calendar, list of candidates, sample ballot (including the text of proposed constitutional amendments), and information about filing as a candidate and voter registration.
Nevada : In addition to archiving election results, the Secretary of State’s Elections Division posts the election calendar, ballot questions, and lists of candidates. The site has a browseable roster of political action committees and forms for candidate contribution reports.
New Hampshire: The Elections Division of the Department of State posts election results under Election Information. A heading is in place for the November election, but the site does not indicate when the link will go live. Besides general voter information (such as registration and identities of various elected officials), the site offers polling places and hours, rosters of lobbyists and political action committees, and committee, candidate, and party financial reports.
New Jersey : The Division of Elections of the Department of Law and Public Safety divides election results by race. The site lists candidates and public questions on the upcoming ballot and explains voter registration and absentee balloting.
New Mexico : The Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections posts the general election calendar and the text of proposed constitutional amendments. Election results are available by office and by county. The site also provides general voter information and a roster of elected state officials.
New York : The State Board of Education posts the ballot, the ballot proposition, and the political calendar for the upcoming election. Election results are also online; the previous two years’ votes were certified on December 15, which suggests that this year’s will not be available until that date as well. Campaign finance filings are accessible from the site, which also has lists of committees that are active or in the campaign finance database.
North Carolina : The State Board of Elections has a list of candidates, election results, and general voter information. The Campaign Finance resources include rosters of registered committees, reporting forms, lists of delinquent filers, and filed campaign finance reports.
North Dakota: The Elections page of the Secretary of State’s site has a candidate list and text of constitutional measures on the upcoming ballot. Election results are posted by county. Pre-primary campaign finance reports are available for state races.
Ohio : The Secretary of State posts a list of candidates, ballot language, a voter guide, absentee ballot information, and the latest election’s results on its welcoming page. Under Election Services it has general voter information, past election results, and campaign finance forms and deadlines.
Oklahoma: The State Election Board provides candidate lists, the election calendar, the ballot text of state questions, and results of the previous elections. Information about voter registration and the Election Board fills out the page.
Oregon : The Elections Division of the Secretary of State has searchable databases of current candidates (under November 7 General Election), political committees (which includes summaries of financial activity), and initiatives, referendums, and referrals. Besides the current year election calendar, the site offers voter registration information, guides and forms for campaign finance reporting, and finders for elected and elections officials.
Pennsylvania : The Department of State’s division of Commissions, Elections, & Legislation posts the official list of candidates, election calendars for this year and next, and results of the most recent election, which are retrievable by office or county. The site includes information about absentee ballots, voter registration, and qualifying to run.
Puerto Rico: The Commission of Election posts a candidate list and election results, in Spanish.
Rhode Island : The Elections Division of the Secretary of State posts the election calendar, candidate list, and location of polling places. Take the link to the Board of Elections to view election returns, voter registration information, and forms and deadlines for campaign finance reports. A list of contributors is available only for 1998.
South Carolina : The State Election Commission posts the election calendar (under Vote 2000!) and results. It also has information about voting, voter registration, and running for office.
Tennessee : The Department of State Division of Elections has the list of candidates, election calendar, and election results by congressional and state districts. The page also has information about voter registration and filing for office.
Texas : The Secretary of State’s Elections Division will be posting unofficial returns to its site hourly throughout election night. Media representatives may subscribe to receive official figures as they are released; press Attention Media for details. The site posts the election calendar and candidate lists (with links to home pages, where available), as well as guides and forms for voter registration and becoming a candidate.
Utah : The State Elections Office post election results dating back to 1982. Candidate information includes a ballot list, instructions for filing, and a searchable database of financial disclosure reports. Information about initiatives and propositions that will be on the ballot appears under Propositions, Initiatives, and Referendums. The site lists registered lobbyists, political action committees, and political parties and maintains searchable databases of disclosure reports filed by corporations, political action committees, and political issues committees. Information is also available about voter registration, absentee ballots, and current state and federal officials.
Vermont : The Secretary of State’s Elections and Campaign Finance Division posts election results, the election calendar, a list of candidates, and links to their Websites. The site has two searchable campaign finance databases, one for the current year and one covering 1991-1998. There are three search tools for the lobbyist registry database; One retrieves registration information, another identifies lobbyists’ employers, and the third discloses reported gifts to legislators and administrative officials. Candidate and lobbyist registration and disclosure forms are available, as is voter registration information.
Virginia : Election results appear under Election Info on the State Board of Elections home page. That subpage also gives the election calendar, candidate lists, and ballot issues, as well as vacancies to be filled and referendums in local special elections. The Campaign Finance page houses reporting forms and calendars, a searchable database of electronically filed disclosure reports, and a list of political action committees. Information about voter registration and running for office is also available from the site.
Washington : Election night results will be available after the polls close at 8 PM on the Secretary of State Election Division’s Vote 2000 page. This page also posts ballot initiatives, voter registration and candidate filing information, and a guide to the candidates. It links to TVW, the state’s public affairs network, for a video voter’s guide and candidate statements in RealAudio and RealVideo. The Elections Division’s main page posts election results, ballot initiatives, lists of candidates and offices up for election, and the election calendar. For campaign finance information, the site links to the Federal Election Commission and the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. There is also information about filing procedures and voter registration.
West Virginia : The Secretary of State’s Elections Division lists offices and candidates on the ballot, constitutional amendments and ballot issues, and the election calendar. Election results appear under Election Statistics. Campaign finance disclosure reports are searchable by candidate and political action committee. Forms for candidates, financial disclosure, and absentee ballots are available from the site.
Wisconsin: The Elections Board posts election results; the list of candidates; all committees, groups, and other entities registered with the Board; and Board forms. Campaign finance information includes reporting dates, summary listings of filings, scanned images of late filings, and ballot access documents.
Wyoming : The Secretary of State’s Election Administration posts ballot issues; the election calendar; rosters of candidates, their committees, and their Websites; a list of judges who have filed for retention; offices up for election; and the names of presidential electors. A heading is in place for the upcoming general election results, even though this year is omitted from the list of available years on the top page. The Lobbyist page includes forms and a roster; activity reports are available by e-mail, on request. The site has forms for and a roster of political action committees, as well as general voter information (including registration forms).
©Kathy Biehl 2000. All Rights Reserved.