TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansans could have access to critical information for U.S. and state elections a lot sooner next year. The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission (KGEC) released their first recommendation for 2021 on Wednesday, which requires campaigns to use electronic filing, or e-filing, for campaign finance reports.
“The public deserves to know who is supporting their candidates, and how their candidates are spending that money” said Mark Skoglund, Executive Director for KGEC. “That’s critical information that some people view as very important to their decisions, regarding which candidates they support.”
The state allows e-filing for campaigns, but some choose to file manually, which can delay reports from being released for up to one month and can cause errors that candidates may have overlooked. The department is hoping the new approach will get campaign finance information to Kansans faster and with fewer errors.
If passed, Kansas will join 40 other states that require e-filing of reports.
However, mandating e-filing could place a burden on candidates filing in rural areas, where broadband access is limited.
Larry Dreiling from Hays, a former state senate candidate, said e-filing in a rural area was easy for him. But, he can see how it would be hard for other candidates where they lack resources.
“Kansas fortunately, at least the northwest part of the state is really lucky, but you go elsewhere, and it’s a really tough situation,” Dreiling said.
Dreiling hopes that the new proposed legislation will ignite a push to secure broadband access for rural areas.
According to KGEC, rural areas will be able to submit a waiver if they’re not able to file electronically.