The Fair Political Practices Commission requires candidates for office to file campaign disclosure statements in paper with original signatures. In Pacifica, that has meant a lot of paperwork for City Clerk Sarah Coffey. But on May 10, the City Council approved a way for candidates to file electronically in addition to paper form.

The city will work with NetFile, a vendor approved by the California Secretary of State, to provide an online electronic filing system for campaign disclosure statements and statements of economic interest. Coffey already used NetFile to file FPPC’s Form 700, a statement of economic interests, electronically with no required city ordinance.

The transition to electronic filing of campaign disclosure statements requires City Council to pass an ordinance, Coffey said. It will apply to candidates spending $2,000 or more in campaign funds. There is a different form for those who don’t raise $2,000, Coffey said. NetFile can accommodate all the commonly used forms in campaigns, Coffey said.

NetFile uses practices often found in online banking to secure data, which is stored and backed up. The city’s data will be kept for 10 years. The site can be accessed 24 hours a day. It has a system in place to alert a filer of a potential error when entering information. That will increase accuracy of reporting, Coffey said. For most city residents, the most important difference is that the documents will be available online rather than solely in paper form at City Hall.

Once a statement is filed electronically, all future statements will follow. The method chosen — paper or electronic — can be switched as desired during a campaign, Coffey said.

NetFile costs $4,250 a year. It will save staff time in handling paper filings, said Coffey. 

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