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Secretary of State to improve campaign finance reporting and election administration

North Dakota's Secretary of State said the Legislature allocated some much needed funding to update election administration and campaign finance reporting.

Michael Howe said the Legislature approved $5 million for new election administration software, as well as funding for a new campaign finance system. The goal is to have the systems in place for the 2026 election.

"This upcoming biennium will be for RFP (Requests For Proposals) and implementation," Howe said.

Howe said the state had contracted with a vendor on the campaign finance software, where North Dakota is the only client. He said that vendor wants to get out of that software line.

"I feel, just as a candidate myself, and to the public, that system isn't very transparent," Howe said. "That's the whole point of having the campaign finance system, is to be transparent."

Howe said the state will have a new vendor, and a new system, that will be easy to use for candidates, and easy to find information for the public.

Howe also said the office will also have a new vendor for election administration.

"This is the system the counties use to report the results on election night," Howe said. "Counties also use it for poll worker management and polling location management. It's basically the central nervous system for election administration."

Howe said that system has nothing to do with ballot tabulators, or the actual counting of the ballots. He said it's for the administration between the Secretary of State's office and all 53 counties.

Howe said the Legislature passed a measure to provide protections for election workers.

"We've seen other parts of the country where election workers have been harassed and under attack," Howe said. "We haven't had those problems here in North Dakota."

But Howe said it's good to be proactive on that front as well.

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