Appendices

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Appendices

Appendices:
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Appendix B1
FILING REQUIREMENTS

Committees are encouraged to become familiar with the filing requirements and filing methods available for filing campaign statements and other documents under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA). Filing officials seek to disclose all filings and correspondence received by a committee accurately and timely. While the MCFA requires filing officials to assess late filing fees in the event that a required statement is filed late, a primary mission of the filing official is to disclose the information to the public for review. The information provided here is intended to assist committees in filing timely and to avoid late filing fees.

DATE AND TIME STATEMENTS ARE REQUIRED

All statements are due by 5:00 pm on the due date. This is true for both paper and electronic filings. If a statement deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, state holiday or postal holiday, the due date is moved to the next business day.

Late filing fees are assessed for each business day a required statement remains unfiled until the maximum fee is reached. Section 16 of the MCFA provides methods for committees to guarantee timely filings. See ENSURING TIMELY FILINGS below for more information on this subject.

NUMBER OF CAMPAIGN STATEMENTS REQUIRED

The number of campaign statements required varies with each filing official. Committees on file with a county clerk’s office must consult their offices on the appropriate number of statements required with each filing.

The Bureau of Elections requires only the original statement if filing via paper; no additional copies are required. Campaign statements submitted electronically do not require any paper copy follow-up. If the committee is filing the Statement of Organization electronically, paper follow-up is required only for the original statement and when there is a change in the candidate name, treasurer or designated record keeper. The e-SofO system provides prompts if a paper copy is required.

ENSURING TIMELY FILINGS

Electronic filings must be transmitted and received by 5:00 p.m. on the due date.

Paper filings and removable media:

  • Any statements that are hand delivered or sent by first class mail must reach the appropriate filing official before 5:00 p.m. on the due date. The postmark for first class mail does not guarantee timeliness of the filing. Committees must be sure to allow adequate mailing time when sending a filing by first class mail.
  • A Statement of Organization, Annual, Post-Election, January Quarterly, February Quarterly or April Quarterly statement that is sent by registered mail, certified mail or an overnight delivery service and postmarked on or before the filing deadline will be accepted as a timely filing regardless of when it is delivered. In the event that the filing is lost in the mail, the committee will be required to provide a copy of the mail receipt and a copy of the lost statement.
  • A Pre-Election, July Quarterly or October Quarterly Statement that is sent by registered mail, certified mail or an overnight delivery service and postmarked two or more days before the filing deadline will be accepted as a timely filing regardless of when it is delivered. In the event that the filing is lost in the mail, the committee will be required to provide a copy of the mail receipt and a copy of the lost statement.

REQUIREMENTS FOR ACCEPTABLE FILINGS

Paper Filings

  • A campaign statement, filed on paper, may not be accepted if it is illegible, does not bear a proper signature, is printed on paper that is not the proper size, or is not filed on paper forms provided by the Department of State or forms previously approved in writing by the department’s Bureau of Elections or designated filing official. Contact the Bureau of Elections or your filing official for information and written pre-approval of substitute forms.
  • A campaign statement, filed on paper, must be complete and accurate, and verified as such by the committee treasurer or designated record keeper. The campaign statement must be signed by the committee treasurer or designated record keeper. The designated record keeper may sign the statement in place of the committee treasurer. If the committee is a candidate committee, the candidate must sign the campaign statement as well.

Electronic Filings with the Bureau of Elections

  • Campaign statements may be filed electronically using the MERTS software or an approved privately purchased software. Electronic filings are submitted over the Internet or by removable media.
  • Electronic filings must meet all specifications of the Bureau of Elections and must be able to be uploaded into the Bureau’s database. A PDF or other image copy of a statement submitted via email or removable media does not meet the requirements for electronic filing.
  • The committee may obtain the MERTS software from the Bureau of Elections at www.mertsplus.com. The MERTS software and support is free. The Bureau of Elections cannot and does not support any vendor software.
  • The committee must have appropriate signatures on file and passwords issued before filing electronically with the Bureau of Elections.

Electronic Filing with a County Clerk: Committee’s must contact the County Clerk’s Office for information concerning electronic filing. The Bureau of Elections is not able to provide guidance for the specific programs in place by the any County Clerk’s Office.

Filing with the Bureau of Elections - FAQs

The Bureau of Elections provides the following information for committees that file on the state level. Committees filed with their local county clerk’s office should contact that office to determine how filings may be received.

Are all original campaign statements due at 5:00 pm?

Yes. The MCFA provides that all original statements are due by 5:00 pm on the due date. This is true for both paper and electronic filings. Filings submitted to the Bureau of Elections by any of the methods indicated below must be received by 5:00 pm on the due date to be considered timely.

• Email
• Fax
• Regular mail delivery
• Hand delivery

A filing received by any of these methods and received after 5:00 pm is considered received the next business day for late filing fee purposes. Below are some considerations in determining what method to use for filing:

The Bureau of Elections uses the receipt date provided on the Bureau’s equipment and software. For example, the date stamp of the Bureau’s fax machine or email time stamp will be used to determine the date and time of receipt of a filing.
The Bureau of Elections is not responsible for failures of the equipment and software. Committees are responsible for ensuring that the filing is received regardless of the filing method chosen. While fax and email transmissions will not be rejected, they are not recommended filing methods.
In the event that the filing is not received, the committee will be responsible for any late filing fees assessed based on the actual date and time received. Evidence of attempting to file is not sufficient cause for waiving a late filing fee under the MCFA.
Documents that are filed on paper and required to be filed electronically are considered ‘not received’ until the electronic statement is received. Late filing fees will be assessed based on the receipt date and time of the electronic filing.

What types of mail are guaranteed by the MCFA?

As explained above in more detail, the Section 16 of the MCFA details that certified mail, registered mail and overnight delivery service mail when post marked timely guarantees the committee timely filing regardless of when the filing actually arrives at the Bureau of Elections. This is true even if the filing is lost in the mail. Guaranteed timely delivery also eliminates the chance that the committee will incur any late filing fee for that specific filing.

Pre-Election, July and October Quarterly Campaign Statements must be post marked at least 2 or more days prior to the due date and mailed by certified registered, or overnight delivery service. Other statements must be post marked on or before the due date and mailed by certified registered or overnight delivery service.

Is 2 Day Priority Mail guaranteed by the MCFA?

Yes. The Bureau considers this type of delivery an express delivery service and it provides a verifiable record of the mailing date and time.

Committees must send the Bureau of Elections a variety of document types. What filing methods can be used for each type?

To answer this question, the chart below is provided to assist in determining the different methods of filing statements with the Bureau of Elections.

Type of FilingFees Apply?Acceptable Filing MethodsNotes
Original Statement of OrganizationYesFirst Class Mail
Certified/Registered or Overnight Mail
Email
Fax
Hand Delivered
Hint: To secure timely filing use Certified, Registered or Overnight Delivery post marked on or before the due date. State filers can file electronically.
Amended Statement of OrganizationNoFirst Class Mail, Certified/Registered or Overnight, Email, Fax, Hand DeliveredState filers can file electronically.
Electronic Original Campaign StatementsYesInternet
Email
Removable Media by First Class Mail
Removable Media by Certified/Registered or Overnight Mail
Removable Media by Hand Delivery
Hint: To secure timely filing when mailing removable media, use certified, registered or overnight delivery service and post marked 2 or more days prior to the due date
Electronic Amended Campaign StatementsNoInternet
Removable Media
Email
While there are no late filing fees assessed, committees that fail to respond to Notices of Error or Omission maybe reported to the Attorney General’s Office.
Electronic 48 Hour/Late Contribution Reports

Special Election Independent Expenditure Report or


24 Hour Reports
YesInternet OnlyGo to the Immediate Disclosure Reporting Application (e-IDR) to file your statement.
Late filing fees are not assessed for amendment as long as additional transactions are not added.
Amendments to Immediate Disclosure Reports (e-IDRs)NoInternet OnlyLate filing fees are not assessed for amendment as long as additional transactions are not added.
Paper Amended Campaign StatementsNoFirst Class Mail
Certified/Registered or Overnight Mail
Email
Fax
Hand Delivered
While there are no late filing fees assessed, committees that fail to respond to Notices of Error or Omission maybe reported to the Attorney General’s Office
Paper Original Campaign StatementsYesFirst Class Mail
Certified/Registered or Overnight Mail
Email
Fax
Hand Delivered
Hint: To secure timely filing use certified, registered or overnight delivery service and post marked 2 or more days prior to the due date.
Paper Amended Campaign StatementsNoFirst Class Mail
Certified/Registered or Overnight Mail
Email
Fax
Hand Delivered
While there are no late filing fees assessed, committees that fail to respond to Notices of Error or Omission maybe reported to the Attorney General’s Office
Paper 48 Hour/Late Contribution Reports,

Special Election Independent Expenditure Report or

24 Hour Reports

Yes






First Class Mail
Certified/Registered or Overnight Mail
Email
Fax
Hand Delivered
Paper filers are encouraged to use the Internet Application to submit these statements/reports.

Late filing fees are not assessed for amendments as long as additional transactions are not added.
AmendmentsNo Late filing fees are not assessed for amendment as long as additional transactions are not added.
Correspondence Sent to Bureau of ElectionsNoFirst Class Mail
Certified/Registered or Overnight Mail
Email
Fax
Hand Delivered
 
Late Filing Fee PaymentsNoFirst Class Mail
Certified/Registered or Overnight Mail
Hand Delivered
 

What is the address for the Bureau of Elections?

Because there are a number of ways to file with the Bureau of Elections, the following information is provided to assist committees in filing. Committees are responsible for using the correct address information for filing.

First Class, Certified, Registered and Priority Mail:
Bureau of Elections
PO Box 20126
Lansing, MI 48901–0726
Email: Disclosure@Michigan.gov
Fax: 517–373–0941

Hand Delivered and Overnight Delivery Service:
Bureau of Elections
430 West Allegan Street
1st Floor, Richard H. Austin Building
Lansing, MI 48918

How many copies are required by the Bureau of Elections?

The Bureau of Elections requires only the original statement if filing via paper; no additional copies are required. Campaign statements submitted electronically do not require any paper copy follow-up. If the committee is filing the Statement of Organization electronically, paper follow-up is required only for the original statement and when there is a change in the candidate name, treasurer or designated record keeper. The e-SofO system provides prompts if a paper copy is required.

Must a committee use the e-SofO system (Electronic Statement of Organization) to file an original or amendment to the Statement of Organization

Yes. The use of the e-SofO system is mandatory. For more information, visit our Website.

Must a committee use MERTS to file electronically with the Bureau of Elections?

No. A committee can choose to purchase approved vendor software. Committee may also use the ‘Vendor File Layout’ to create their own filings, but this requires significant programming skills and coordination with the Bureau of Elections for testing files prior to approval and filing.

Is email considered electronically filed?

A committee can submit an electronic filing via email. This means that an acceptable file from the MERTS software or an approved vendor is attached to the email and is able to be uploaded into the Bureau of Elections database. Simply attaching a PDF or other image file of the statement to an email in not considered electronically filed. Filing submitted in this manner will be accepted as a paper document.

Where do I get the MERTS software?

To download the MERTS software, go to www.mertsplus.com and select the “Software Download” tab from the right hand side of the page. Committees are encouraged to participate in training for the MERTS well in advance of the filing deadline. Online training is available at www.mertsplus.com or reservations for webinar training can be made 2 or more days before the specific session. See 2018-2019 Campaign Finance Webinars for additional information.

Does the Bureau of Elections have any recommendations for helping committees file on time?

Yes. There are two (2) preferred ways to file that are recommended by the Bureau of Elections:

  1. Electronically via the Internet
  2. Mail

While other methods such as email and fax are not rejected, there are no provisions in the MCFA that specifically mention these filing methods and so there are no additional guarantee provisions that apply to these filing methods.

  1. Internet: When filing via the Internet, file as early as possible. Waiting until the due date does not allow for the committee and the Bureau of Elections staff to troubleshoot potential issues prior to the deadline. Attempting to file before 5:00pm on the due date does not guarantee timely filing and late fees could apply. Confirm that the filing has been received:
  • On Screen Verification: The MERTS software will display an on screen verification that the filing has been received and issue a sequence number of the filing.
  • Email Verification: When a statement is received via the Internet, an email will be generated to the email box used by the filer in the upload process.
  • Check the committee’s on-line records via: the Searchable Database where statements will display on the Internet within 5 minutes.
  • Call the Bureau of Elections at 517–373–2540 or email at Disclosure@michigan.gov

.

  1. Mail: When filing by mail, always use certified mail to maintain a receipt. Certified mail is often less expensive than registered or overnight mail. If the filing is an original statement, always post the document two (2) or more days prior to the due date to secure the timely filing of the statement. Always save the receipt in the event that the document is lost in the mail and a copy must be provided.

RULINGS - FILING REQUIREMENTS

08/19/2011McRaeDR56Since the MCFA is silent on the method of filing campaign statements with the county clerk, a county may pass an ordinance that specifies the method. It is the Department’s opinion that the method for the filing may include electronic filing, but the requirements triggering the electronic filing must not be more restrictive than the provisions contained in the MCFA. Complete text
08/05/1980KruegerIS16, 33, 34The Department is not empowered to interpret the Act as assuming that late filed Campaign Statements which were received by the filing official on Monday were actually received on the prior Saturday. However, the filing official may make arrangements to have mail delivered to his or her office on Saturday. Campaign Statements present in a filing official’s mail on the first Monday following a Friday filing deadline are considered to be three days late when late filing fees are calculated. If the filing official arranges to have mail delivered on the Saturday following the due date (Friday), reports received on Saturday are considered one day late when filing fees are calculated. [Late filing fees assessment for campaign statements for a Ballot Question Committee changed to business days, P.A. 95, effective June 21, 1989; all other campaign statements changed to business days effective January 1, 1990.] Complete text
08/11/1978PentaIS36(1)The Bureau of Elections is the only filing official within the Department of State. Complete text
11/02/1978DavisIS24, 33–35Late filing fee assessments include weekends and holidays unless otherwise specified in the Act. [Changed to business days for campaign statements for Ballot Question Committees, P.A. 95, effective June 21, 1989; all other campaign statements changed to business days effective January 1, 1990.] Complete text
07/26/1977KilleenIS16A filing official must mail Notices of Error or Omission by registered or certified mail, but need not mail Notices of Failure to File by registered or certified mail. Filings may be mailed by certified mail as well as by registered mail in order to be considered timely if mailed at least two days prior to the due date. [Expanded to an overnight delivery service by P.A. 95, effective June 21, 1989.] Complete text

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

RULINGS AND INTERPRETIVE STATEMENTS

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Page last modified on May 15, 2018, at 03:54 PM