Candidates, journalists and civic-minded busybodies weary of pestering state staffers to submit or examine campaign disclosure forms will be relieved to know that the state’s creaky electronic filing system is back online after its second prolonged outage.
Nicole Winger, spokeswoman for California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, said the 12-year-old computer system known as Cal-Access was back up shortly before 6 p.m. Friday after being down for most of December.
“Thank you for your patience during the outage,” Winger said in an email to this newspaper. “Although secretary of state staff were able to serve reporters, filers and researchers in many ways while CAL-ACCESS was offline, we understand Internet availability of this system is extremely important and the inconvenience was frustrating.”
Though criticized as outdated, the system had hummed along for more than a decade with few serious glitches. But it began showing its age last month, when it suffered “physical memory failure,” state officials said. Winger said replacing the entire system could cost cash-strapped California $20 million. But state Sen. Leland Yee is proposing to double lobbyist fees to $50 a year to help pay for upgrades.