Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney is asking for a budget increase next year of more than 70 percent, with most of the increase coming in a major upgrade to the state’s election software system to allow more transparent reporting of campaign finances, lobbyist records and election management and results. “This will allow us to migrate the full functionality of the state’s election software management applications into a single, comprehensive and purpose-built software suite that will carry us into the future,” Denney told the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “These areas represent within the election system the highest customer interest from a voter-information standpoint. It’s through these areas that voters can look up who is running and what they’re running for, who is contributing to the campaigns, and who is lobbying, along with our election management and an upgrade to our election-night reporting.” The move was endorsed unanimously earlier by a legislative interim committee that’s recommending more and more frequent campaign finance reporting.
“The current applications managing these tasks were built years ago,” Denney said, “and they have been modified to meet the new statutory requirements, but they’re cumbersome,” and don’t include the “user-friendly” features new, modern software could bring. “We believe that this upgrade is the technologically right and necessary next step for the Secretary of State’s office to enable us to securely and correctly administer Idaho’s election system, while adjusting to changes that will come along,” Denney told lawmakers.
That line item totals $1.29 million in state general funds; it may be spent over two years.