Q1. Do we have to file electronically?
A1. In most cases, yes. Filings must be submitted electronically, with a few exceptions.  You can find a list of forms and transactions on the forms list.
Q2. How do we file?
A2. We offer three ways to file electronically:
- You can enter your campaign finance information directly into TRACER.
- You can use electronic data interchange (EDI) with pre-approved Excel spreadsheets.
- You can use EDI with XML.
See FAQ #Q7 for more information about EDI.
Forms that must be submitted on paper (including candidate affidavits, personal financial disclosures, and gift and honoraria reports) can be found on the forms list.
Q3. How do I know if my report has been filed successfully?
A3. When you submit your report, TRACER will display a confirmation
message indicating that you have successfully filed your report. You will also have the option to print a copy of the
filed report for your records or to export the report.
You can also see reports that have been filed successfully by clicking on the "Filings" tab at the top of the page. The "Filing History" will show you a history of your reports. You can view the status of each report and their filing dates.
Q4. We don't have the ability to file electronically. What can we do?
A4. Candidates and committees can apply for an exemption to the
electronic filing rule based on hardship or other good cause. Please
review Campaign Finance Rule 19 for more information.
Q5. Are there penalties for failing to file disclosure reports, or for filing them late?
A5. Our office and the municipal clerks are required to impose penalties for
failure to file disclosure reports and for disclosure reports filed
past the due date. The penalty is $50 per day, including weekends and
holidays, for every day that a report remains outstanding.
Q6. Can I give permission for a vendor or other
person to enter contributions and expenditures on behalf of my
A6. Yes. If you want to grant access to a vendor, you can submit the User Name and PIN Permissions Form for Additional Users (PDF). After the form has been received and approved by our
office, access will be granted.
Note that while a vendor can enter contributions and expenditures into the system, the registered agent and/or the candidate for the
committee is still responsible for filing the actual report. Vendors or other third parties
are not permitted to file reports on behalf of a committees that they are
Q7. What is EDI?
(Electronic Data Interface) is a method of electronic filing which
allows submission of bulk report data using a predesigned template, thus
avoiding online entry of information contained in the report. This
method of contribution and expenditure entry may be particularly useful
for committees with a large volume of activity to report. EDI is
completed using either an Excel or an XML template.
EDI is available to all filers, but it is best suited to committees
with a large number of contribution and expenditure entries. EDI provides an
additional data management option for candidates or committees.
to ensure that the templates have been filled out properly and that the
system will accept the data, we ask that new EDI filers submit a test
file at least two weeks before their filing deadline.
information about EDI, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-894-2200, ext. 6383.
Q8. What is the "10 Most Recent Contributions/Expenditures" list?
A8. This is a list of the most recent contributions and expenditures that have been
successfully entered into the system. They are not pending; the display is simply a reminder of where the
last person to log into the account left off.
Q9. What does "NSF" mean?
A9. "NSF" means "nonsufficient funds". This indicates contributions that were returned by the bank due to insufficient funds in the account. When you
search for a contribution, one of the options available to you is "NSF".
Q10. What does "terminated" mean?
A10. For a candidate, a status
of "terminated" means that they are no longer actively seeking that
specific office. This usually happens at the end of an election cycle.
For a committee, "terminated" means that they have a zero balance in their fund and have closed the committee.
Q11. What are the most common reasons for delinquent filings?
A11. The most common reasons are:
1. Failure to submit the report online.
sure that you click the "File" button at the bottom of each report to
submit your filing in TRACER. After you click on "File", a confirmation
dialog box will appear. Click on "Ok" to submit the report. Until you
click on "Ok" to confirm, your report is not filed.
2. Using the wrong filing calendar.
and county filers use various reporting schedules depending on the
status and activity of the candidate or committee. If you are unsure
which filing calendar your entity should use, please contact our office at 303-894-2200.
3. Missed deadlines.
It's a good idea to have procedures in place to remind you of an approaching deadline. Here are a few suggestions that may help:
- Set up email reminders.
- Write filing dates on your calendar.
- Establish backup procedures in the event you or your filing agent is
unable to file reports (include access to forms and/or filing system).
- Remember to include an email address on your committee registration
and keep it up to date so that you will receive reminders about filing
4. Lost user names or passwords.
to save the email containing your user name and password (PIN). If you
lose your account information, contact our office so that we can send
you a new password.
5. New filing agent who is unsure of procedures and deadlines.
make certain that your filing agent understands all requirements of the
laws relating to campaign and political finance. In order to guard
against inadvertently missing a filing date, it is crucial that you
instruct your agent on proper filing requirements. For more information
on filing requirements and procedures, please refer to the Colorado Campaign and Political Finance Training Manual (PDF).
Information about how to enter contributions, expenditures and how to
file reports as well as other important information about the TRACER
system is also included in various webinars designed to walk you through these processes.
6. No contributions and expeditures for reporting period.
Even if there has been no activity during a reporting period, committees are still required to file a report.
7. Illnesses or unexpected events.
for unexpected events that may interfere with the timely filing of
reports. It is highly recommended that backup procedures be established
in the event that you or your filing agent are unavailable to submit
8. Reports not filed by close of business.
For the purpose of electronic filing, the close of business means 11:59 PM on the day that the report is due.
9. Failure to file a Notice of Major Contributor report.
committees who receive contributions of $1,000 or more within 30 days of
a primary or general election must file a Notice of Major Contributor
within 24 hours of receiving the contribution. This contribution should
also be listed on the committee’s regularly scheduled report.
10. Failure to file notice of an independent expenditure.
person or committee making an expenditure in excess of $1,000 in a
calendar year that is not controlled or coordinated with a candidate
must notify us in writing. Each expenditure in excess of $1,000 requires
a new written notice and any person or committee making an independent
expenditure within 30 days of a primary or general election is required
to deliver this notice within 48 hours after making the expenditure.
Q12. What is TRACER?
A12. TRACER is the online campaign finance filing system. It was launched on January 4, 2010.
contains campaign finance data for all state and county candidates,
committees, and political parties in Colorado dating back to 2002.
Candidates, committees, and political parties enter their reports of
contributions and expenditures into TRACER.
Q13. What does "TRACER" stand for?
A13. TRACER stands for Transparency in Contribution and Expenditure Reporting.
Q14. How do I set up a user account?
A14. When you register a committee, an account is created for you. A user ID and personal identification number (PIN) will be emailed to you, generally within one business day of your registration.
If you are a standalone candidate who is not registering a committee, you will receive TRACER account information after we receive your candidate affidavit.
Q15. Why do I need to give you an email address?
A15. Important information is sent to the email address on the user account. Be sure to keep your email address current.
Q16. How do I change the email address on my account?
A16. You can change the email address associated with your account in TRACER. You can also contact us at 303-894-2200, ext. 6383, or email@example.com.
Q17. What happened to data that was entered in the old system?
A17. All existing data was migrated into the new system.
Q18. Is there training for TRACER?
A18. There are training modules and webinars available for your use.
also a "Help on this page" link available on many TRACER pages.
Clicking on this link will give you detailed instructions and a
description of the options available to you on that particular page.
Q19. Will my username and password from the old system work in TRACER?
A19. No. If
you had an account in the old system, you will need new login
information for TRACER. If you did not receive a pair of emails about the system on
January 3, 2010, please call us at 303-894-2200, ext. 6383, or email
firstname.lastname@example.org for access.
If you are a new user, you can simply go to
tracer.sos.colorado.gov to get started.
Q20. I entered the wrong password a few times, and now I'm locked out of TRACER. How can I avoid this?
A20. TRACER gives you three chances to enter the correct
username and password (PIN). If you enter the wrong information three times, the system will
lock you out and you will need to contact us to have your account unlocked.
To avoid lockouts, click on "Forgot your PIN?" after no more than two attempts to log in. You
will then be asked to provide the answer to the security question associated with your account. After you provide the correct answer to the security question, your password will be displayed on the screen. If you continue to have trouble with your
username or password, please contact us at 303-894-2200, ext. 6383, or email@example.com.
Q21. What is the difference between the tabs across the top of the TRACER page and the links on the left side of the page?
A21. Once you
have logged into the system, the tabs across the top of the page will
guide you to the various sections of TRACER necessary to enter
contributions, expenditures and to file your report. You will primarily
be using the tabs at the top of the page when you are working in your
committee workspace and entering information specific to your committee.
The links on the left side are "public" links and allow you to
search for other candidates, committees, contributions and expenditures
outside of your own workspace and to run reports on various information
contained in the system.
Q22. I have more questions.
A22. You can call us with questions at 303-894-2200, ext. 6383, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Rule 19