Grading State Disclosure 2003 Logo Graphic

H a w a i i


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Campaign Disclosure Law
Electronic Filing Program
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual & Technical Usability

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The State of Disclosure in Hawaii

As the sixth-ranked state, Hawaii currently has one of the best campaign finance disclosure programs in the nation. Nonetheless, its grades in Electronic Filing and Online Contextual and Technical Usability show that it has room for improvement.

Hawaii has a fairly strong campaign disclosure law. Candidates must file semi-annual statements in non-election years and three statements before an election. Candidates are required to disclose details about contributions of $100 or more, but a contributor's occupation and employer are only required for contributions of $1,000 or more. Last-minute contributions of $500 or more must be reported up to three days before the election. Candidates must itemize all expenditures, including subvendor information. Independent expenditures must be reported and last-minute independent expenditures must be reported within the last 10 days before an election. Hawaii has a mandatory electronic filing program for statewide candidates who reach a threshold of $5,000, but electronic filing is voluntary for legislative candidates.

Hawaii does a good job of posting campaign finance information on the disclosure agency's site in a timely manner. Electronically filed campaign finance reports are available on the site as soon as they are filed and paper records are scanned onto the site within a week of being received. The site does provide databases of contributions and expenditures that contain data from electronically filed reports and are searchable on a number of fields. Searching can be confusing, however, because there are two databases on the site, HERTS1 and HERTS2, with no explanation about what can be found in each. NIC Technologies is the contractor for the HERTS databases, which contain many of the same usability problems as other NIC state disclosure databases, such as the case sensitivity of search fields that is not explained to site visitors. In addition, since electronic filing is voluntary for legislative candidates, there is not a lot of information available in the database for those candidates.

Hawaii's poorest performance was in web site usability, especially contextual usability. Although the total amounts raised and spent by the two major party gubernatorial candidates is posted on the site, this type of summary information could be expanded to include all statewide and legislative races. The site also does not explain what records are and are not available online and there are no complete instructions about how to use the databases. Hawaii's usability testing scores reflect the poor usability of the web site and show substantial room for improvement.

Disclosure Agency: Campaign Spending Commission
Disclosure Web Site:

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This page was first published on September 17, 2003
| Last updated on September 17, 2003
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