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The Grading Process

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The Grading State Disclosure criteria was written and developed by the California Voter Foundation in consultation with the Grading State Disclosure judges, the Campaign Disclosure Project Advisory Board and project partners. The Project sets a high, but not impossible, standard for state campaign finance disclosure programs. In developing the criteria, efforts were made to balance the concerns of practitioners and government officials with the need for timely, complete and effective disclosure. The criteria used for this fourth round of grading is unchanged from that used in the first three rounds.

Four areas of performance comprise the grading criteria: Campaign Disclosure Laws; Electronic Filing Programs; Disclosure Content Accessibility; and Online Contextual and Technical Usability. The strength of a state’s campaign disclosure law is worth 40 percent of its grade; the quality of electronic filing is worth ten percent of the grade; and accessibility to data and web site usability are each worth 25 percent. 

A 300-point system was developed to score each state. Points were awarded based on a state’s performance solely in the area of state-level candidate disclosure. Ranks were assigned based on points, and in several instances one or more states tied for a particular rank. This is especially the case in the Electronic Filing category, where multiple states were tied for both first and last place. Grades are based on each state’s total point score, utilizing the following grading percentages:

A:              90 – 100 percent (excellent)
B:              80 – 89 percent (good)
C:              70 – 79 percent (average)
D:              60 – 69 percent (below average/passing)
F:              59 percent or lower (failing)

In addition to an overall grade and rank, the states have also been graded and ranked in each of the four grading categories. In order to better measure progress over time, the grades are not curved, weighted or scaled.


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First published October 16, 2007
| Last updated October 17, 2007
Campaign Disclosure Project. All rights reserved.