Grading State Disclosure 2003 Logo Graphic

U t a h


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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 Utah

Although it received a passing grade overall, Utah has significant room to improve its campaign finance disclosure program. Its most significant weaknesses are in its law and electronic filing program.

Under Utah law, candidates are not required to file campaign finance reports in non-election years, but must file two reports before each election. Details about contributors who give $50 or more must be disclosed, but occupation and employer information is not required. Last-minute contributions do not have to be disclosed prior to an election. All expenditures must be reported; however, subvendor information is not required. In addition, independent expenditures are not required to be reported before an election. Electronic filing is voluntary for statewide and legislative candidates.

Utah ranked in the top 20 for accessibility to disclosure content, but still has room for improvement in this area. The official disclosure web site published by the State Elections Office (under the purview of the Lieutenant Governor's office) includes itemized contributions and expenditures for every statewide and legislative candidate; agency staff data enter records from paper filers. The database of contributions is comprehensive, but could be improved to include an expanded contributor search (currently the only searchable field is contributor name), and the addition of complete reports for each candidate, instead of just lists of contributions and expenditures that span several reporting periods. The web site does not feature a searchable database of expenditures.

Utah could also improve the usability of its campaign finance disclosure web site. Although the site features some good contextual information, more could be added to give site visitors a better framework for understanding campaign disclosure in Utah. The disclosure site has an innovative feature to help visitors to the disclosure site determine which reports have been filed and are available online for each candidate, but the site is still lacking a more general and complete description of what and whose data is available online. There is summary campaign data showing total amounts raised and spent by all candidates in each race since 1998, but the amounts for individual candidates are not broken out, which would be a more useful tool for comparing various candidates' activities. Some terminology on the site could also be changed to help improve usability. For example, labels for some features on the site are confusing or misleading, such as the heading “Search Reports” which actually allows browsing of contributions made to candidates, and the link “Candidate Contributor Summary”, which goes to the searchable database of contributors.

Disclosure Agency: State Elections Office
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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