1. QUESTION: What is the status of the CARS Project?

ANSWER: The Secretary of State is working on documents that are part of CDT’s project planning process known as the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL). This is the approval process to allow the project to move forward and hire a vendor to design, develop and implement the new system. The PAL process is divided into four stages, each separated by gates of approval. Stage 4 Project solicitation activities are in progress.

2. QUESTION: Does the Secretary of State currently have a vendor engaged in development activities?

ANSWER: No, the current planning process is to procure a system integrator to design, develop, and implement the system.

3. QUESTION: Why is the Current CAL-ACCESS system being replaced?

ANSWER: Originally implemented in 2000, the current CAL-ACCESS system is an amalgamation of component applications that were developed at different times using multiple, now obsolete, coding languages, platforms, and technologies. CAL-ACCESS users and stakeholder groups have identified the following business problems:

  • Program business operations are negatively affected by the current system design.
  • Program business operations are at risk due to an old, unsupported information technology platform.
  • Political Reform Division and stakeholders have limited information access and reporting capabilities.
  • Current system technological limitations restrict the ability to modify the current system to accommodate changes in the law.

In September of 2016, the Governor approved Senate Bill (SB) 1349. The bill directs the SOS to develop an online, data-driven filing and disclosure system.

Per Senate Bill (SB) 1239 (2018), all filings will be required to be filed electronically regardless of activity or threshold amounts.

The new and improved CAL-ACCESS will provide users a more efficient, sustainable system that is flexible, easier to use and allows heightened transparency into campaign and lobbying activity. Until the new system is in place, the existing system will remain operational in the interim.

4. QUESTION: How do I receive updates on the project?

ANSWER: Project status information can be found on the project News and Updates site and Events Calendar. For those interested in receiving more information about the project, please contact the Secretary of State via email at PRDCARS@sos.ca.gov, by phone at (916) 653-6224, or by writing to: Secretary of State, Political Reform Division, 1500 11th Street, Rm. 495, Sacramento, CA 95814.