- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The State Board of Elections has opened up a comment period on its decision to revise the deadline for filing campaign finance reports after Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration asked the board to seek public input on the change.

The board didn’t give public notice before it pushed back the filing deadline from 5 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the day the reports are due, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Wednesday.

“After learning that the State Board of Elections voted to change the filing deadline at a regular meeting, the secretary of administration requested that the board hear from Virginians before the decision is finalized,” McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy told the newspaper.

“The governor believes decisions are best made with the full input of the Virginians who will be affected,” Coy said.

The public can comment on the change through an online survey that can be accessed on the board’s website, www.sbe.virginia.gov/. The comment period ends March 26.

Megan Rhyne with the Virginia Coalition for Open Government criticized the decision to change the filing deadline.

“These disclosures are for the benefit of the public to see who gives money in politics,” Rhyne said. “It’s difficult to understand why they would make a rule change that would delay the disclosure and without an opportunity for the public to comment.”

Board of Elections Chairman Charles E. Judd suggested the change during a Jan. 8 board meeting. He said the meeting’s minutes, informing the public of the planned change, were posted online before the change was approved at a later meeting.

“Our 5 p.m. deadline was based on the closing-of-business mindset,” Judd told the newspaper.

The reporting system’s switch to electronic filing resulted in online traffic often backing up shortly before the filing deadline, he said.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, https://www.timesdispatch.com

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