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M a i n e


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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 Maine

While it received a passing grade, Maine's campaign finance disclosure program shows significant room for improvement, particularly in the areas of Electronic Filing and web site usability.

Maine law requires candidates to file two statements in non-election years and one statement six days before an election, except for gubernatorial candidates, who are required to file two pre-election statements. Detailed information, including a contributor’s occupation, is required to be reported for contributions greater than $50. Last-minute contributions must be reported before an election. Details about all expenditures, including subvendor information, must be disclosed. Expenditure disclosures do not include a vendor's name, however. Independent expenditures and last-minute independent expenditures must also be reported prior to an election. Although its electronic filing program receives adequate funding, provides some technical assistance to candidates and offers web based filing and a standard filing format, the fact that electronic filing is voluntary for statewide and legislative candidates brings down Maine’s grade in this area.

Maine does an average job of making campaign finance data accessible to the public, and all campaign finance filings are available on the state's web site. Electronically filed reports are available immediately and information from paper records is data entered by agency staff within a month of being filed. All campaign finance reports can be searched in databases of contributions and expenditures. Maine does offer a unique feature on its web site – in addition to contributor and expenditure searches, it is possible to search for a particular name or word across all types of filings, including candidate, PAC, lobbyist and party committees.

The usability of Maine's web site could be much better. The terminology on the site could be improved; for example the link to the campaign finance database is called “Maine Campaign Finance Electronic Filing Link”, which is not a clear description of what can be found there. In addition, there are no lists of total amounts raised and spent by candidates to give the public an overview of campaign financing in the state, no information to help the public determine which candidates' reports appear on the site and no list of candidates for current or upcoming elections. Also, there are no instructions for how to use the site and it may be hard to use with a dial-up modem or a computer with limited RAM.

Usability scores for Maine's site also show that there is substantial room for improvement. Usability testers found the campaign finance web site and easily found individual contributor information, but they did not locate summary campaign information.

Disclosure Agency: Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices
Disclosure Web Site:

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This page was first published on September 17, 2003
| Last updated on October 13, 2003
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