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State election campaigning going digital

A pilot program will make campaigning for state office easier in Arizona. The Secretary of State’s office announced the E-Qual system, which allows voters to sign candidate petitions online and donate $5 for candidates seeking Clean Elections funding. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Paul Atkinson reports.

To get on the ballot, candidates and their campaigns collect signatures by going door-to-door, standing outside libraries or attending events. The E-Qual system will allow candidates for the legislature and statewide offices to get half of the signatures online. It also allows candidates to raise up to half of their $5 contributions to qualify for Clean Elections campaign funding. The new E-Qual system will also benefit voters.

“And then they can go home and research the candidate so they don’t feel pressured that they have to give them money right then,” says political social media expert Carolyn Leff. “Because that can be scary for people who are new to the political process if a campaign worker comes up to you out of the blue going ‘hey, would you give me $5?’ It’s like ‘well, I don’t know who you are.”

Leff says her only concern with the new E-Qual system is the exclusion of older voters who aren’t computer savvy. The online system requires a drivers license number and date of birth to verify identity.

E-Qual website