Public Comments for: HB495 - Campaign finance; mandatory electronic filing for all candidates.
Last Name: Morrissey Organization: Money Out Virginia/American Promise Locality: Sterling, Loudoun County

Our team from Money Out Virginia, the VA affiliate of the nation-wide American Promise campaign finance reform advocacy organization, worked hard this past year with the "Joint Subcommittee to Study Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform," and produced a "Citizens' Report" for the Subcommittee that articulated principles and priorities for improving transparency, preventing corrupt campaign finance practices and moving towards more equity in campaign financing in Virginia elections. The partnership between the Subcommittee and Money Out Virginia has resulted in a series of important bills that improve the requirements, process and electronic infrastructure for disclosure of campaign donations. We strongly support Delegate Bulova's HB 492, HB495, and HB500, Delegate Helmer's HB489, Delegate Anderson's HB86 and Delegate Davis' HB125, which provides for penalties for violations of disclosure laws. We also support Delegate Bulova's HJ53 to extend the mandate of the Joint Subcommittee so that we can continue our partnership in developing sensible campaign finance reforms for Virginia.

Last Name: Mott Organization: VA Chapter of American Promise Locality: Arlington

Jessica Mott, VA Chapter of American Promise: HB86 (publicly accessible database): We support this bill. A recent poll indicates that 88% of Virginians support public disclosure of all contributions. This enactment of this bill would strengthen disclosure by requiring that the database containing the information from campaign finance reports be publicly accessible, searchable, and sortable. It also requires that the Board of Elections set standards that should help ensure that the data is complete, accurate, and helps verify compliance with campaign finance legal requirements. Its adoption should help facilitate the efficient use of algorithms and electronic cross-checking to promote compliance by reporting entities and the reliability of the information in the database. It compliments the other proposed disclosure bills, HB495, HB500 and HB489, as well as the proposed oversight bill HB492. HB489 (electioneering): We support this bill, Its passage would help reduce one significant form of dark money support by making this support transparent. It adopts a definition of electioneering that is already utilized in other jurisdictions. It would help ensure that campaign finance disclosure includes not only ads that directly advocate support or opposition to candidates, but also ads close to election dates that imply support or opposition in ways that are likely intended to influence election outcomes. It also requires public disclosure within ads of top 3 donors. SB318, its counterpart, was approved by the Senate with bipartisan support on January 24th. HB 492 (record retention, guidance and review): We support this bill. It deals with a number of issues discussed by the Joint Subcommittee on Campaign Finance. It requires improved instructions for report forms, along with assistance to campaign offices, and clearly defines the campaign office responsibilities for record retention for expenditures above $500. It addresses a fundamental gap in oversight by providing the Department of Elections with the authority to review campaign finance reports and records. The proposed sample sizes are cost effective and appropriate (100% of state-wide candidates, 10% of state legislature candidates and 1% of other offices for campaigns costing more than $25,000). These and other provisions should help enable cross-checking of data, and the use of algorithms for campaigns and reviewers to identify and address report shortcomings related to completeness, accuracy and compliance. We note that it would help ensure meaningful implementation of proposed HB973, restricting personal use of campaign funds. HB495 (electronic filing): We support this bill. We commend the inclusion of electronic filing of independent expenditures, as well as by all candidates except for candidates running for local office who raise less than $25,000. It addresses measures that were discussed and agreed in principle by the Joint Subcommittee on Campaign Finance Reform. The parts of it pertaining to candidates are largely comparable to SB222 which has been approved by the Senate P&E Committee and was approved by unanimous vote by the Senate on January 24. HB500 (electioneering): We support this bill. We appreciate that it enhances disclosure by expanding advertisement provisions to include more forms of electioneering communications. Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Thank you for this opportunity to testify.

Last Name: Morgan Organization: VA Chapter of American Promise Locality: Alexandria

Nancy Morgan, Coordinator of the VA Chapter of American Promise. We support this bill. 88 percent of Virginians want full disclosure, including of independent expenditures. Last year nearly $7 million of opaque ads were funded which was used to attack candidates of both parties. This bill introduces reporting requirements on all independent expenditures as well as improving reporting by candidates and committees. We also appreciate the requirement that all reports be filed electronically. It also closes a loophole which forces out-of-state monies, such as through out-of-state PACs, to be reported to the Dept of Elections. One critical element is that all of this reporting, including independent expenditures, be available to the public through a web based, user friendly portal. This was a recommendation to the Joint Subcommittee on Campaign Finance (which met over the August-October period) by the Campaign Legal Center.

Last Name: Millhouser Locality: FALLS CHURCH

I strongly support HB86. It would greatly enhance full public disclosure of campaign contributions, something that is desired by the vast majority of citizens of the commonwealth. The bill specifically requires the State Board of Elections create a computerized campaign finance database, standards for electronic submission of campaign finance, and portal or interface that allows users to easily search for and sort campaign finance information. I strongly support HB495. A vast majority of Virginians want full disclosure, including of independent expenditures. This bill introduces reporting requirements on all independent expenditures as well as improving reporting by candidates and committees. all reports must be filed electronically. It also closes a loophole which forces out-of-state monies, such as through out-of-state PACs, to be reported to the Dept of Elections. Public access to reports, including independent expenditures is also ensured by a web based, user friendly portal. Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments, Bill MIllhouser

Last Name: Mitchell Organization: Big Money Out VA Locality: Arlington

I am in support of Delegate David Bulova Bill 495. The bill requires all independent expenditure and candidate campaign finance reports to be filed electronically with the Department of Elections. Under current law, such expenditure and finance reports can be filed either electronically or in writing with State Board of Elections. Electronic filing made available as soon as possible is an improvement. The bill also shifts administrative duties given to the State Board of Elections, such as the receipt of certain filings, to the Department of Elections which needs more staff and funding. • Responds to VA Voters support for complete disclosure (88 percent of Virginians want disclosure.) • Adheres to recommendations coming out of the Joint Sub-committee on Campaign Finance Reform. • Most other states require electronic filing and it makes it easier for legislators as the Dept can easily identify mistakes and respond quickly to legislators for rectification. • A companion bill in the Senate (Senator McPike SB222) passed through the Senate P&E committee with unanimous consent as it did on the floor of the Senate on Jan 24th. Mindy Mitchell 3601 5th St S. Arlington, VA 22204

Last Name: Mashburn Organization: League of Women Voters Locality: Abingdon, VA

It is very important that Virginia has an uncomplicated and accessible method of voting for every citizen to register their preference. Fraud is not a big problem, so obstacles should not be placed in the way of voters.

Last Name: Martin Locality: Fairfax

Voting is a constitutional right. Any law that restricts rather than expands our constitutional right & DUTY to vote is simply voter suppression. We must not repeal any expansions of absentee ballots. Do not decrease early voting. - extend the number of days allowed. Do not eliminate any ballot box locations- expand. We have no need to re-register absentee ballots every year. No excuse absentee voting is absolutely crucial. The state must provide easy and free access to voter ID if a photo is required. Since the USPS has slowed considerably, we must keep the 3 day rule for receiving ballots after election day. All local elections must be on Election Day (in Nov). Election Day should be a holiday. Until we do a complete overhaul of campaign finance & eliminate dark money/special interests there must be no restrictions on outreach, education & registration or from where a candidate may collect funds. Voter registration up to and including Election Day is absolutely crucial to ensure all citizens vote. I support all bills expanding our rights and abilities to make voting as easy as possible. I oppose all bills attempting to restrict any access to our ballot and our vote. The process is too important for the elected officials to be able to restrict us from our duty to be informed voters. Keep expanding our rights. Do not restrict, suppress or subvert them.

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