Virginia enters the 21st century with online lobbyist registration.

At long, long last, the state is accepting lobbyist registrations and disclosures electronically. I gather that lobbyists must use this—they can’t keep filing on paper. Pssst, Virginia! Don’t make me FOIA these records, just let me download them! 

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

6 replies on “Virginia enters the 21st century with online lobbyist registration.”

  1. not for campaign money though… the local paper just provided disclosures for May elections and it turned out to be scanned in forms….with handwritten entries…

    VPAP must have a tough tough job…. when will Va force online campaign finance reporting?

  2. Larry G – Virginia has e-filing available for all candidates, but only Statewide candidates are required to file electronically. While it is not required, more than 95% of candidates for the General Assembly and all but a few members file electronically.

    More than 400 local candidates chose to file electronically in Virginia during 2011. With our new e-filing application, e-filing is easier than ever. We believe the numbers will continue to sky rocket over the next few years.

    We are very proud of our successful e-filing program here in Virginia.

  3. yup Chris – I’m aware… how come local candidates still file on paper even though they are very online aware?

    or is that the problem?

    I’d just like to see candidates file electronically without generating paper.

  4. The State Board of Elections is now making it easier than ever to download campaign finance data on our website:

    Well, shit. I think my head just exploded.

    I’m at Peak Stuff I Can Get Done™, but it’s not like I can not write a parser for this. Maybe this will be my chance to try and get decent at writing some Python.

    how come local candidates still file on paper even though they are very online aware?

    I think that part of the problem is treasurers. I’ve never done an analysis on this, but anecdotally, I see the same handful of people acting as campaign treasurers in race after race. And for good cause—being a treasurer is great experience for being a treasurer yet again (and again), and they can serve as a strong asset for regional political parties. There are plenty of folks who have been acting as campaign treasurers for decades. They know the print forms, and can fill them out without any difficulty. Online filing? If they don’t have to switch to it, they won’t.

    BTW, the U.S. Senate still doesn’t have to file electronically, and a great many of them (most, IIRC) file on paper. Requiring an absurd and expensive process by which the FEC gets their paper filings scanned, keyed in, and sent back to them. All for data that the senators have electronically. It’s ridiculous.

  5. A little clarification on the lobbyist registration/disclosure system that the Secretary of the Commonwealth launched on May 1. First, electronic registration, of sorts, has been available for years. What’s new is that the new system will save the submitted information into a database. Hurray! Second, electronic registration is still not mandatory. Lobbyists may continue to file on paper, though the new system is so well designed that it’s hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t use it.

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