Citizens can now receive a near instantaneous notification if someone has filed to run for political office thanks to a new online notification service launched, today, by Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Constituents can now sign up to receive email notifications or Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds to know when any candidate files with the Office of the Secretary of State. The service is part of Secretary Grayson’s Check it Out Kentucky! initiative designed to bring greater accountability for government to all citizens of Kentucky.
“Over the last six years, one of my top priorities has been to make state government transparent and accessible,” stated Grayson. “We have made millions of documents available online, transformed our office into a twenty-four hour a day online service center, and made our spending available online in order to utilize technology to make our office more effective and efficient. This election notification service just adds another layer of accessibility and transparency to our services.”
The new service is free and allows constituents to receive emails either at the time each action is taken, or on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Constituents can also use RSS readers so that the information is displayed on websites and personal homepages.
Interested individuals can sign up to receive notification on a single race, multiple races, or all races. Information that will be available to the recipient includes filing information that the Office of the Secretary of State has made available online for several years including office sought, address, city, district (if applicable), political affiliation, date filed, as well as web address and photo, if available.
This notification service follows the launch of corporate, enacted legislation, and Governor’s executive journal notification services over the last year. The corporate notification service allows citizens to receive an automatic notification any time there is a change in the record of a business entity that is filed with the Secretary of State. The enacted legislation service allows citizens to receive notifications about the final actions take by the Governor on pieces of legislation. The executive journal notification system allows citizens to find out the executive actions taken in state government by the Governor.
The notification systems were developed in-house by Office of the Secretary of State programmers at no additional cost to the Commonwealth.
“Transparency allows citizens to hold government accountable for its actions. By giving citizens tools such as these notification services, we allow them to hold government to even higher standards than before,” noted Grayson. “In the end, the beneficiaries of this service are Kentucky taxpayers.”
“These changes will not only serve as a great benefit to the constituents of our office, but they will allow us to use our personnel more efficiently in the wake of the deep budget cuts our office has experienced over the last 22 months.”
During Grayson’s tenure in office, he has rapidly become known as an innovator and transparency champion. Since Grayson took office six years ago, the Office has launched over 25 new online services or upgrades to further those missions. Now, a vast majority of services that the Office provides can be found online.
Earlier this year, Grayson launched two new ‘FastTrack’ services. FastTrack Business Registration is an online business registration system that reduces the number of days it takes for companies to begin conducting business in Kentucky. FastTrack Elections is a new service that allows candidates to access the proper candidate filing forms online.
Currently, three million documents are available on the Secretary of State’s website. Last year, Grayson’s office became the first state office in Kentucky to put all of its spending online so that citizens can see how their tax dollars are being spent.
Grayson has progressively reduced the size and cost of the office during his term. Since Grayson assumed office in 2004, the office has reduced its number of full-time employees by 12%, eliminated nearly all part-time employees, reduced its operating budget by nearly 10%, and consolidated the number of physical offices from two to one.
“It is our responsibility to provide the most efficient and accessible service, in the most environmentally friendly way possible,” said Secretary Grayson. “The changes we have made to this office are the kind of transformations that government should be making in the 21st Century, where we do more with less by creating a 24-hour a day online service center.”
To register for the new services, please visit: www.sos.ky.gov/notificationservices.