Secretary of State Ross Miller Says a Quarter Million Votes Could be Cast Before All Campaign Contribution and Expense Reports are Public
Urges public support for C & E reporting reforms
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pam duPré
(Carson City, NV; October 25, 2010) – Secretary of State Ross Miller said today that at the current rate of early voting, more than a quarter million Nevadans could cast their votes before campaign spending reports are made public.
Campaign contribution and expense (C & E) reports are due to be filed by the end of the day tomorrow, October 26. Reports sent by regular mail have to be received by 5 PM. Reports sent by certified mail have to be postmarked no later than tomorrow. Some of those reports may not be received and posted to the Secretary of State or county clerk/registrar websites until after early voting ends. Reports filed electronically online must be filed by 11:59 PM tomorrow.
More than 200,000 early votes have already been cast and the number could easily surpass 250,000 by the end of the day tomorrow. “It’s clear that early voting is becoming more and more popular in Nevada,” Secretary Miller said in reporting the numbers. “Almost 88,000 more people have voted early compared to this same point in time in the 2006 mid-term election. That’s a huge increase of about 75%. We’re encouraged by that and at the same time frustrated that so many voters will have no knowledge of some of the campaign practices and record amounts of spending we’re seeing until after they’ve cast their ballots. It’s time for some serious reform in our reporting laws and I’m asking the public to help me make that happen.”
Secretary Miller is strengthening his legislative package of proposals to increase the transparency and accessibility of information on spending by candidates and Political Action Committees (PACs). He says he’s prepared to fight for the bolder reforms in the next session of the Nevada Legislature. The package will provide greater public access to more information by:
• requiring candidates and PACs to electronically file contribution and expense reports;
• establishing a searchable campaign contribution database;
• adding to the reporting period an additional contribution and expense report to be submitted prior to the start of voting;
• requiring candidates to report 4 days prior to election day any contribution over $1,000 received since the previous reporting period;
• requiring PACs to update registration annually with the Secretary of State's office; increased penalties for election violations;
• requiring the parties making independent expenditures to register with the Secretary of State’s office, include disclaimers on their materials, and to report their finances before voting begins. Independent expenditures will also be subject to the same contribution limits as candidates.
Secretary Miller said his current legislative proposal will need to be further refined in the area of independent expenditures. “This election cycle proves that we need to pull back the curtain on special interest funding of independent expenditures, “said Secretary Miller. “The current law which requires independent expenditures to be reported doesn’t provide an accurate depiction of how the money is being raised or who the parties are behind the expenditures. The level of uncontrolled special interest spending has caused the limits on contributions to be almost completely irrelevant.
“I encourage all concerned citizens to help me turn up the heat and make reform happen in 2011,” he added. “It’s going to take the collective voice of Nevada’s voters, the people who will benefit most from this reform.”
Tomorrow, October 26th, is also the last day a registered voter may request an absentee ballot from their county clerk or registrar. Early voting results, C & E reports (statewide and multi-county districts only), voter registration status, and other election information can be found under the Election Center at www.nvsos.gov.