Kathy Biehl is a member of the State Bar of Texas and co-author of the Lawyer’s Guide to Internet Research. Formerly in private practice, she is an author, researcher and consultant in the New York City area.
Each edition of Research Roundup will pull together related, practical online services that take outstanding advantage of the convenience and efficiency of the Internet.
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. Some even offer online access to vote tallies as they come in on election nights. In each description, I have mentioned if resources were available in the fall of 2000 but are not currently on the site, to give an indication of what may be available as elections approach again.
This update also adds some public interest sites for tracking and analyzing campaign contributions.
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 1996. The available filings now include Late Activity Reports, which are large contribution and independent expenditure notices, for 2000. It’s possible to view paper or electronically filed reports (images of physical financial reports go back to 1993) or search the database for selected contributions or for candidate and PAC/party summaries. Extensive information is also available by campaign and committee for the most recent election. Registration and reporting forms, reporting dates, results for the previous three general federal elections, election laws and cases, and a variety of FEC publications are also online.
STATES & TERRITORIES
The Secretary of State’s election information includes searchable databases of candidate lists and election night returns, proposed statewide and local constitutional amendments, Fair Campaign Practices Act filings and other data pertaining to elections in 2000. Information for 2002 includes the filing calendars for both the election and PAC reports, the candidate list, and list of offices to be elected. The page also contains general voter’s information and the Fair Campaign Practices Act.
For the current election, the Division of Elections offers candidate lists, absentee ballot forms and filing instructions, as well as the year’s election calendar, reports of the status of petitions, and notices of upcoming elections. In 2000, as the general election approached, this information also included overviews of candidates, arguments for and against ballot measures, and evaluations of judicial candidates. Scroll down the home page for election results, which date back to 1994, and a searchable PAC database. The site contains extensive general information, such as calendars, polling places, and pertinent regulations and statutes.
The Elections Department of the Secretary of State offers 2002 election dates, ballot measures (including fiscal impact analyses), a list of candidates, and results from previous elections back to 1992. Among the other resources are campaign finance data (including a searchable database of political action committees) and a lobbyist search engine.
The Secretary of State’s Elections Department posts the text of newly adopted constitutional amendments, information about absentee ballots and voter registration, and election results. Postings for the 2002 election included dates, applications, and campaign contribution limits. In 2000, as the election approached, the site also disclosed certified ballot issues and election calendars. There are search engines for lobbyists and campaign finance reports.
The Secretary of State’s Elections Division posts candidate lists, texts of ballot initiatives, election results dating back to 1996, and information about absentee voting, filing for office, recall, and election fraud. Dates and other information are available for upcoming local and special elections. The site offers the election code, as well as vote-by-mail applications in seven languages.
The Secretary of State’s Elections Center posts the current election calendar and candidate list, as well as rosters of state or federal political action committees and state issue committees (all with contact information). In the early stages of the election cycle, it has historically listed the offices to be filled; it has also disclosed initiatives when they are on the ballot. Other information includes the text of initiatives, election calendars, and election results from prior years (as far back as 1996); a roster of registered lobbyists; forms for voter registration and absentee ballots; search engines for candidate financial transactions, committee reports, and lobbyist information; and the Fair Campaign Practices Act. (During the 2000 election season, it also offered a search engine for candidates.) The center accepts online registration of candidacies.
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. Use the Campaign Finance Information System to investigate filings by committee, candidate, political party, individual contributor, or treasurer.
The Commissioner of Election’s resources include a candidate’s list, a polling place locator, an election calendar, and vote results dating back to 1996. 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.
The Board of Elections and Ethics posts a calendar of upcoming elections, a list of primary election candidates, the times and locations of polling places, the results of previous elections (dating back to 1994), and information about elected officials, voter registration, and applying to be a candidate. The Elections 2000 link (which is still live at the time of this update) 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.
This somber, straightforward site of the Department of State’s Division of Elections gives no hint of the officer’s high-profile role in the 2000 presidential election. The site offers election results (back to 1978), 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. The list of offices to be filled in 2002 is up.
The Elections Division of the Secretary of State has a list of 2002 election deadlines and dates, absentee ballot forms, election results (back to 1988), 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). Campaign disclosure reports are retrievable by candidate or contributor. January and February special election results are up.
The Office of Elections posts unofficial summary reports of election results by county, dating back to 1992. The site lists the political parties on the 2002 ballot. An absentee ballot, voter registration form, and application for nomination papers are available, along with a candidate manual and filing report forms. The Useful Internet Links include a pointer to the Campaign Spending Commission, which offers access to electronic filings by candidates.
The Election Division of the Secretary of State offers the 2002 primary candidate list, election calendar, and proposed initiatives. The site posts the results of previous elections (back to 1994) by federal and state office. County results go back to 1996. 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.
The State Board of Elections offers searchable databases of candidates, election results, political committees, and campaign contributions. For the most 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. For 2002 elections, the site has the candidate’s guide, the election and campaign finance calendar, and a searchable database of candidates filed.
Besides the latest 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. Archived election results date back to 1997. The 2002 election calendar is posted under the links to Campaign Finance or to Information for Voters, Election Workers, or Candidates; the candidate list is under Information for Voters.
The Voter and Elections Center of the Secretary of State has election calendars through 2003, election results back to 1996, candidacy forms, and voter registration information. For 2002, it has posted the candidate list and unofficial primary election night returns. Look under Election Information for links to county Websites. The site maintains a searchable database of personal financial disclosure statements, which elected officeholders and other state officials are required to file.
The Elections and Legislative Matters Division of the Secretary of State posts official election results and information about advance voting. Historic information is available back to 1988. Candidate filing lists are up for the 2002 primary and general election, along with the election calendar and filing information. There is a keyword-searchable database of lobbyists, which you limit by lobbyist or by client.
The Secretary of State’s Elections has upgraded its returns reporting to an Election Night Tally System, which displays results by race and county. The site offers an 2002 election calendar, search tools for candidate information, and results dating back to 1973. Take the link to the Registry of Election Finance (under Related Sites) to view campaign financial reports.
The Department of Elections and Registration posts the current and previous year’s election calendar and extensive information about absentee voting, voter registration, and fraud investigations. Though the route to them is not clearly marked, the department has searchable databases of election returns and candidate information (both dating back to 1987), as well as of elected officials. One way to reach them is the Candidates link under Elections.
The Secretary of State’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions reports prior vote tabulations (back to 1992) and gives information about upcoming elections, voter registration, absentee ballots, and municipal elections. The 2002 election calendar and candidate lists are available. For the 2000 election the site provided ballot referendum questions, and electoral college information as well. The candidate reporting forms heading links to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Practices site, which does not make public filings available online.
For 2002, the State Board of Elections has posted the election calendar and offices on the ballot, a list of candidates, ballot questions, and legislative proposals that affect elections and voters’ rights. Election results (back to 1986) appear under Past Elections. The campaign finance database handles queries for contributions by campaign committees, expenditures made by campaign committees, or summary information reported by campaign committees.
The Elections Division offers guides covering voter registration, absentee ballots, running for office, and more. The 2002 primary and election schedule is online, along with the calendar and candidates in special elections. Ballot questions and voting results of the 2000 election are also available. For the 2000 election, the site provided the text of ballot questions and a list of offices up for vote. Take the Office of Campaign and Political Finance link to view images of financial reports filed by candidates and state ballot question committees and to search a database of contributors.
The Secretary of State posts election dates, candidates, and results for 2000 to the present. For the 2000 election, this information included statewide ballot proposals. Campaign finance statements filed by committees are online, as are the filing forms for committees, for lobbyists, and for persons with casino interests (who are prohibited from making state and local political contributions).
The Secretary of State posts election results (back to 1998) and the latest election calendar, 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. For the 2000 election, it offered a list of candidates.
The Secretary of State Elections Division has a searchable database of candidates since 1983 (which you use to retrieve the current year’s list) and the text and status of initiatives since 1993. During the 2000 election the site also included, a calendar and the initiatives on the ballot. Election Results normally contains a pull-down menu for primaries, elections, and run-offs in 1999 and 2000; at the time of this update, only 2000 information is available while the site undergoes revamping. Campaign Finance has reports for statewide candidates, grouped by filing dates, as well as the filing forms. The Lobbying heading offers searchable directories of lobbyists and clients, as well as a search engine for compensation reports.
The Office of the Secretary of State posts the 2002 special election candidate list, initiative proposals approved for circulation, and the election calendar, as well as candidate filing guidelines, an absentee ballot request, and other general information. For general elections, the site also lists the offices to be filled. Archived election information dates back to 1996 and includes the text of ballot measures, candidate changes to the ballot, and, for some, the vote tally. The office begins reporting returns to the site on election night. Visitors may view all returns or sort the database by such parameters as county, ballot issues, statewide offices, district, and race.
The Secretary of State offers candidate lists, a current election calendar, ballot measures, and election results since 1992. The site also lists legislators affected by term limits and explains voter registration, absentee balloting, and filing to run. Under the Campaign Finance heading is a link to the Commissioner of Political Practices, which posts candidate and committee reporting forms.
The Secretary of State has posted the 2002 election calendar, candidate filing list and primary election results. For 2000, the site offered the text of constitutional amendments and initiative petitions. The page also provides information about absentee voting, filing as a candidate, and voter registration.
In addition to archiving election results back to 1998, the Secretary of State’s Elections Division posts the election calendar, ballot questions, offices up for election, and lists of candidates. It also has information and forms for candidacy and minority party contributions, a guide to recall, and the text of circulating petitions, The site has a browsable roster of political action committees, contribution and expense reports dating back to 2000, and forms for candidate contribution reports. The site has launched a pilot program for online reporting of contributions and expenses, which are retrievable by candidate, PAC, contributor, or vendor. This feature is very much in development. The deadline for the first filing period is August 27, 2002, and the database will not be exhaustive because participation is voluntary. The legislative tracking feature monitors bills that have been signed by the governor and the Secretary of State or vetoed by the governor.
The Elections Division of the Department of State posts election results under Election Information. (It dates back to 1992 for presidential primaries and to 1998 for state elections.) Besides general voter information (such as registration, absentee balloting, and the 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. Forms for registering political action committees or reporting their receipts and expenses are available.
The Division of Elections of the Department of Law and Public Safety posts the current election calendar and explains voter registration and absentee balloting. For previous elections (from 1998 through 2001), the site divides the results by race and ballot question and lists candidates and public questions. Take the link to the State Election Law Enforcement Commission for campaign finance forms and a searchable database of filings.
The Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections has posted the 2002 primary election results; for the fall election, it has lists of judicial offices to be retained and the text of constitutional amendments. The site makes election results available by office and by county for 1998 and 2000; statistics are also online for 1996 and 1994. The site also provides general voter information and a roster of elected state officials. For campaign finance reports, the site links to the Federal Election Commission. The site also points to the bill locator at the legislature’s Website.
The State Board of Elections posts the current political calendar, as well as votes tallied since 1994, as well as the political calendar for the next election. As the 2000 election approached, the site provided the ballot and the ballot proposition for viewing. Campaign finance filings since July 15, 1999 are accessible from the site.
For the 2002 election, the State Board of Elections has candidacy notices, candidate filing lists, and information about the delay of the primary. The site also offers election results dating back to 1992, and general voter information. The Campaign Finance resources include rosters of registered committees, reporting forms, filed campaign finance reports, and filing analyses prepared by the Campaign Reporting Office.
The Elections page of the Secretary of State’s site has posts election results since 1996, posted by county. Current year resources include the election calendar, ballot measures, offices to be filled, candidate list, and unofficial primary results. Online forms include absentee ballots, recall petitions, and candidacy papers. Campaign finance disclosure reports are available for state races back to 1998.
The Secretary of State posts the current election calendar, the list of candidates, ballot language, and primary election results. It also offers a voter guide, absentee ballot information, and results dating back to 1996. The Campaign Finance Division offers reporting forms, a calendar, and a searchable database of filings.
The State Election Board provides the 2002 election calendar, candidate filings, and list of offices to be filled. It also historically posted the ballot text of state questions. Results for elections from 1996-2000, information about voter registration, absentee voting, and the Election Board fill out the page.
The Elections Division of the Secretary of State has searchable databases of the election calendars for 2000-2002, candidates (currently, for the 2002 primary), political committees and initiatives, referendums, and referrals. For the 2002 primary the site has posted ballot measure texts and explanatory and financial impact statements, Sign up for the Division’s IrrIist to receive electronic notification of new initiatives or ballot titles. Archived election information (including official results) dates back to the 1995 special U.S. Senate primary. The site offers voter registration information, candidates’ manuals, guides and forms for campaign finance reporting, and finders for elected and elections officials. The campaign finance session database generates summaries of financial activity.
The Department of State’s Division of Commissions, Elections, & Legislation posts the dates and official results for the 2001 special election. The election data archives have election calendars from 1998-2002 and results since 1997. The site includes information about absentee ballots, voter registration, and qualifying to run.
The Commission of Election has Spanish-language resources, including the results of the 2001 special and 2000 general elections, including pull-down menus for legislative election results since 1992 and browsable results for a variety of election types (some dating back to 1932). More historical data is available in English at the Elections in Puerto Rico site).
The Elections Division of the Secretary of State points to the Board of Elections, which posts a calendar of the upcoming primary and general elections, returns dating back to 1998, voter registration information, and forms and deadlines for campaign finance reports.
The State Election Commission has posted the 2002 calendar. Election returns since 1996 appear under Statistics, by country across the state. The site also has information about voting, voter registration, and running for office.
For 2002 elections, the Secretary of State’s Elections Elections Information provides a list of candidates after the primary, texts of ballot question and the proposed constitutional amendment, offices to be filled, and abbreviated, complete, and municipal election calendars. Historical information dates back to 1988 and includes official returns, approved measures, ballot texts, and calendars. The site maintains tables of campaign finance reports filed since 1994. Voter registration and absentee ballot information is available. On election night, returns are online beginning at 8 PM Central Time and updated every five minutes.
The Department of State Division of Elections has the 2002 election calendar and candidate list and results for the August and November 2000 votes. The page also has information about voter registration and filing for office.
The Secretary of State’s Elections Division posts guides and forms for voter registration and becoming a candidate. For 2001 and 2002 calendars, take the Voter Information link. Historical vote tallies go back to 1848, for presidential elections; otherwise, the election history dates back to 1994. In 2000, the site posted candidate lists (with links to home pages, where available), and uploaded unofficial returns hourly throughout election night.
The State Elections Office post election results dating back to 1982. Candidate information includes the current list, offices up for election (through 2004), instructions for filing, and a searchable database of financial disclosure reports. Information about pending and past initiatives and propositions 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.
The Secretary of State’s Elections and Campaign Finance Division posts detailed election results since 1996; totals date as far back as 1789. The 2002 election calendar is up, along with a campaign finance guide and petition and consent forms. During the 2000 campaign, the site also offered a list of candidates, and links to their Websites. The site has two searchable campaign finance databases, one for the 2000 and 2002 election cycles, and one covering 1916-2000. 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.
Candidate lists and ballot issues are up for the 2002 special, primary and local elections. Election results (back to 1995) appear under Election Info on the Elections page. That subpage also gives election calendars for 1999-2001, candidate lists and ballot issues for the same period, and the five-year election schedule (through 2006), 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.
For 2002, the Secretary of State Election Division’s election information page has a list of offices up for election and the election calendar. Voter registration and candidate filing information is also available, along with unofficial election results dating back to 1998. For the 2000 election, the site offered ballot initiatives, a guide to the candidates, and a link to TVW, the state’s public affairs network, for a video voter’s guide and candidate statements in RealAudio and RealVideo. It also made election results available online immediately after the polls closed on November 7.
The Elections Division’s main page posts election results back to 1996, ballot initiatives, lists of candidates and offices up for election, and the election calendar. For campaign finance information, the site points to the Federal Election Commission and the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, which has forms as well as a searchable filings database. There is also information about filing procedures and voter registration.
Election information at this redesigned site appears under the heading Participate in Government. For 2002, the Secretary of State’s Elections Division has a list of offices on the ballot, the election calendar, a roster and searchable database of candidates who have filed, and a searchable database of returns. Campaign finance disclosure reports are searchable by candidate and political action committee. There is one database for filings from 2000 and 2001 and a new one for filings beginning in 2002. Forms for candidates, financial disclosure, and absentee ballots are available from the site.
The Elections Board posts election results back to 1996; current candidates and election dates; all committees, groups, and other entities registered with the Board; and Board forms. The 2002 election dates and candidates are up. Campaign finance information includes reporting dates, listings of filings, and special reports of late filings.
For 2002, the Secretary of State’s Election Administration posts deadlines, key dates, the election calendar, the roster of primary candidates, offices up for retention, and ballot issues. It has election results for 1998-2000. Information for 2000 (which is still online) included ballot issues; 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. The Lobbyist page includes forms and a roster; activity reports are available by e-mail, on request. The site maintains a roster of political action committees and gives out general voter information (including registration forms).
Opensecrets.org analyzes campaign finance filings in every imaginable way: by political party, zip code, state, individual donor, industry, and more. Although the front-page emphasis is federal, state-level data is available for more than half of the nation as well. The states with coverage are shown in green on the map under the Get Local! tab. The site offers profiles of state representatives, of political parties and their committees, and of the top individual donors in the current (or most recent) election. The site offers a free, weekly Money in Politics e-mail alert, which examines special interest legislation on the federal level.
Follow the Money analyzes campaign contribution filings from more than 40 states, some dating back to 1996. You can look at data by contributor, candidate, or state, or view summarized data from multiple states. The detailing of data sources (under About the Database) includes a statement of the campaign contribution laws in each covered state. New features include a breakdown and analysis of state race contributions by Enron, Ken Lay, and other executives of the energy company.
©2002 Kathy Biehl. All Rights Reserved.