Grading State Disclosure 2008 Logo Graphic

N e w . J e r s e y


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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 New Jersey

New Jersey earned an A or a B in each of the four scoring categories for the first time, and ranked in the top ten for the second year in a row in 2008. A redesigned web site and a stronger usability test performance helped New Jersey improve to a B- in the Online Contextual and Technical Usability category in 2008, up from a C in 2007.

New Jersey earned a B+ and a top ten ranking again in the Campaign Disclosure Law category in 2008. Candidates must report details about their contributors, including occupation and employer data for those giving $300 or more. Last-minute contributions and independent expenditures must be reported prior to Election Day. Expenditure disclosure is thorough and includes subvendor and accrued expense reporting. New Jersey earned an A in 2008 for its electronic filing program, which is mandatory for statewide candidates and legislative candidates who raise or spend over $100,000 (the highest threshold for legislative candidates in any state). To assist electronic filers, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) reorganized its electronic filing web page and continues to offer an excellent filer training program that includes an online certification program for campaign treasurers, a dedicated electronic filing help desk, and dozens of classroom trainings throughout the year.

New Jersey improved from a B- to a B in the Disclosure Content Accessibility category in 2008 because the agency enhanced its online, searchable database of contributions. The database contains both electronic reports and paper-filed reports that have been data-entered by ELEC staff. Site visitors can now search transactions by a specific date and transaction amount or by donor name, zip code, or employer. Search results can be sorted online or downloaded for offline analysis. As noted in past assessments, the site requires users to download and install a small software program to view disclosure reports, and there is no searchable database of campaign expenditures. However, the agency is working to streamline the report viewing option and is developing a searchable database of campaign expenditures to complement the site’s excellent database of contributions.

New Jersey’s redesigned disclosure site performed better on the usability test than the previous design did in 2007, which bumped the state from a C to a B- in the usability category. The new site offers a clean design and is organized into easy-to-navigate sections for both the public and filers. The site continues to provide detailed contextual information to help the public understand campaign financing in New Jersey, including an excellent series of “White Papers” that analyze campaign finance trends going back to 1977. Site visitors can also access overviews and charts of campaign finance activity through the most recent reporting period, and the site features a unique tool for customizing lists of candidates by office, district, party affiliation, and election.

Quick Fix: Provide the starting and ending date for each reporting period shown in the index of a candidate’s reports and within the report itself.

Editor’s Pick: Excellent overviews of campaign finance statistics. View image

Disclosure Agency: Election Law Enforcement Commission
Disclosure Web Site:

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First published September 17, 2008
| Last updated on January 5, 2006
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