Authored by W. C. Bruner and developed by George Westlund, the Race-Trax software was created as a practical and economical solution to reduce the formidable task and expense of preparing financial disclosure reports for political campaigns. It required over three thousand engineering man-hours to develop, and contains over 300,000 lines of source code. The program was written in the "C" language. Race-Trax is Windows compatible and will run on any PC running Windows '95 or later.
Receipts, Disbursements, & Reports
If you enter every receipt and every disbursement, Race-Trax will automatically produce a report that is prescribed by the laws in your jurisdiction. Every version of Race-Trax is different because each version must comply with specific State or Federal regulations. For example, the New York version of Race-Trax should not be used by a candidate in New Jersey, or by a candidate for the U.S. Senate or House. You must obtain the specific version for your particular situation.
Using the correct version, Race-Trax will automatically generate the appropriate forms and schedules, insert the data onto the forms and schedules, and print the report ready for your signature by clicking on one button, "Print the Complete Report."
In addition to providing paper reports, some versions of Race-Trax provide for "electronic" filing. Some states require submission of their reports on disk, while some others require submission via the Internet. The Race-Trax versions for those states satisfy their requirements by providing the appropriate type of electronic filing.
Race-Trax will observe thresholds for reporting receipts and disbursements appropriate for your candidacy and jurisdiction. Race-Trax will automatically aggregate receipts and disbursements during an election cycle or calendar year, whichever is required.
Race-Trax will warn you when aggregate contributions exceed the specific limits (if any) for that type of contributor. For example, in the Federal version, individual contributors are limited to contributing no more than $1,000 per election. If the aggregate contributions from any one individual exceed that $1,000 threshold, Race-Trax will present a warning message, telling you that the contributor is over the limit for that election.
Both "election cycle" and "calendar year" totals are monitored by Race-Trax. With FEC reports for a U.S. Senate committee, contribution limits apply to a six-year period. However, quarterly reports indicate only year-to-date totals.
If contribution limits are based on a mathematical formula (New York for example), you may indicate certain information about the number of registered voters, etc., when you define your campaign. Once this is done, Race-Trax automatically calculates and warns you if limits are exceeded.
Once you have defined your committee to Race-Trax, you may view or print a report for any time period you select. Simply enter the dates (example 1/1/02 through 1/31/02) and then select the form or schedule you wish to view (or print).
Contributors and vendors are contained in one database. Each contributor and each vendor are entered into the database by name, address and type. A contributor can also be a vendor, and a vendor can also be a contributor. Race-Trax is told if a contributor or vendor is an "individual", a "corporation", a "PAC", a "partnership", etc., in order to produce your reports. The data entry screen for a contributor/vendor enables you to specify this information by allowing you to select a particular description for that record with a simple mouse click. Depending on which version of Race-Trax you are using, other information may also be optional or required, such as telephone numbers, occupation, employer, etc.
Joint names of contributors, such as "Smith, John & Mary" are to be avoided. Enter "Smith, John" as one contributor, and "Smith, Mary" as another contributor. Typically, the contributor is the person who signed the check.
Race-Trax checks the names as they are entered into the database, refusing to accept the same name twice. However, if you enter "Smith, John T", Race-Trax will accept the new name, because it is not a perfect match with "Smith, John."
Race-Trax provides both import and an export capabilities. Database files can be exported to virtually any other program which accepts a "de-limited" format. The purpose of this export may be to use the data in word processing, spreadsheets, or other database programs which offer sophisticated sorting and printing.
Other database files in a de-limited format may be imported into the Race-Trax database. These files may be de-limited with commas or any other characters. You have complete control over which fields are to be imported and what characters are to be used as de-limiters.
Generating financial reports is the most important function of Race-Trax, so this program should be under the direct control of your treasurer. If other people need the database information, either generate hard copies for their use, or export the database information for their use on another computer.
The person entering data into Race-Trax must have a reasonable knowledge of the rules and regulations that apply to your campaign. Make sure the person has the latest copy of the State or Federal "Campaign Guide" which applies to your campaign, and make sure they have read the manual. Race-Trax will tell you where to obtain the required information.
Race-Trax will generate a perfect report if the information entered is completely accurate. With this software you have all of the tools necessary to meet the regular financial reporting requirements of your jurisdiction.
- Electronic Filing
- Thank you letters and receipts
- Deposit slips
- Mailing labels
- Solicitation letters
- Contributor spreadsheets
- Disbursements by check number
- Journal audit trail
- Font size seletion
- Printer alignment
- Information requested letters