California: Varied election filing practices reveal a system struggling to catch up | Los Angeles Times
More than half of California’s counties — most of them small and rural — don’t provide online access to campaign finance records, and they say they aren’t likely to change any time soon, an assessment of county-level contribution records shows. Only 28 of the state’s 58 counties provide campaign finance information online. And of those, just 17 make the data available in formats that make it easy to search and analyze the money influencing local elections. Some counties say shifting online would be too expensive given tight budgets. Others have implemented electronic filing systems, but have not made them mandatory for candidates and committees. That means it’s more difficult to determine whom local donors are, how much money they raised and for which campaigns. Counties operate independently because there is no state law requiring online filing. California accepted the first electronic filing of a campaign statement in U.S. history in 1998. Little has changed since then.