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Tag Archive: new jersey

Government shutdown muddies transparency in NJ Senate race

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On the eve of New Jersey's special election for U.S. Senate, outside groups have been bombarding Jersyites with political ads and canvassing efforts as both sides make final pleas to voters in a tightening race -- even the President got in on the action. But one thing Garden State voters will not see before they visit their local ballot box is a full picture of the candidates' campaign contributions. Like a lot of problems in Washington these days, this one can be chalked up to the government shutdown.

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OpenGov Voices: Chasing the 8-hour app

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Tom MeagherFoundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.

Tom Meagher is the co-founder of Hack Jersey and the data editor at Digital First Media's Project Thunderdome in New York City. Follow Hack Jersey at @hackjersey or www.hackjersey.com. Reach Tom at @ultracasual.

A few weeks ago, Hack Jersey brought a group of journalists and developers together to wrestle with campaign finance data. We thought it would be a good opportunity for many to get their hands dirty and to start thinking about new ways of reporting and building with the data.

In one room of our event at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, a group of journalists went on a data expedition, learning how to explore reports from the state's Election Law Enforcement Commission. In another, we gathered developers to try to build a campaign finance app for New Jersey using the Sunlight Foundation's APIs in a single work session.

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States Lead on E-Filing, Will the Senate Catch Up?

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It seems our Senators have a thing or two learn from their home states when it comes to campaign finance reporting: 31 states currently require mandatory electronic reporting ("e-filing") of their elected representative's campaign finance records -- a leap above our Senate, which has failed to pass no-brainer e-filing legislation for over a decade. Sunlight conducted a review of the current state of similar filings in the states (see chart below), and the results are pretty surprising -- in a great way. State governments across the country -- 92% of them, in fact -- require at least optional, if not mandatory electronic filing for both houses of their bicameral legislatures.

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