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V e r m o n t


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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 Vermont

With a ranking in the bottom ten states, Vermont has significant room to improve its campaign finance disclosure program. Vermont's highest grade in any category is a D- for its law; it received Fs in every other category.

Vermont requires candidates to file one non-election year report and two reports before each election. Candidates must disclose information about contributors who give more than $100, but occupation and employer information is not required and last-minute contributions do not have to be reported. All expenditures must be disclosed, including subvendor information. Independent expenditures do not have to be disclosed. Vermont has no electronic filing for statewide or legislative candidates.

Vermont has much room to improve its efforts to make campaign finance information accessible to the public. Campaign finance reports are posted on the Secretary of State's web site within ten days of being filed and they are available as either scanned images or HTML pages. There are no databases of itemized contributions or expenditures. One outstanding feature of the web site is a database of historical campaign finance data for elections dating back to 1916. The database is unique to Vermont (no other state had anything comparable) and allows the user to select the year of an election and see how much each candidate spent in a race and whether they won or lost. This gives the public a great deal of information about campaign financing trends in the state.

The usability of the web site could also be significantly better. The site uses clear terminology, provides an explanation of the state's campaign finance restrictions and has a comprehensive list of candidates for the most recent election. The agency could improve the site by explaining which reports are included online, clearly labeling reporting periods, and posting both original filings and amendments on the Web. The disclosure site was difficult to find from the state web portal, and Vermont's usability testing scores indicate that there is substantial room for improvement.

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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