Grading State Disclosure 2003 Logo Graphic

N o r t h . D a k o t a


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

Grading Process green cube Subcategory Weighting green cube Methodology green cube Glossary

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The State of Disclosure in North Dakota

North Dakota's F and overall rank of 48 can be attributed to the fact that it has the weakest campaign disclosure law in the country, does poorly in making campaign finance data available to the public and lacks an electronic filing program. The only reason it does not come in last overall is that the Secretary of State's web site is easy to use, provides some context for understanding disclosure in the state, and does contain some campaign finance data, (as opposed to the states ranked 49 and 50 in the study, which do not publish any campaign finance records on the Internet.)

Candidates for office in North Dakota must file one statement prior to each election, plus an annual report in both election and non-election years. Candidates are required to disclose information about contributors who give more than $200, but that information does not include the contributor's occupation or employer, or the details of loans given to campaigns. Last-minute contributions of $500 or more must be reported within 48 hours. Expenditures, independent expenditures and last-minute independent expenditures are not required to be disclosed.

To improve accessibility to the campaign finance data that is disclosed by candidates in the state, North Dakota could expand upon the static lists of itemized contributions currently available on its disclosure web site. Putting the same records – which are already in an electronic format thanks to the agency having data-entered information from the paper filings – into a database or other format that allows searching, sorting and downloading, would give the public the ability to utilize this information in a much more meaningful way.

North Dakota performs best in the area of web site usability, using clear terminology and providing information on its web site to help the public understand campaign financing in the state. An explanation of the law, a comprehensive list of candidates, and a format that clearly shows the universe of reports available on the site all contribute to a number five ranking in this category. The site could be improved, however, with the addition of an analysis or summary of campaign finance information, a better explanation of the disclosure reporting periods, and a format for viewing all of a particular candidate's reports from the same index page (as opposed to the current system, which organizes reports by date and requires a lot of moving around the site in order to see all the filings for one candidate over multiple years.)

Disclosure Agency: Secretary of State
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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