Filing in Michigan

Filing in MI is done via an import into the state-provided MERTS system. If you already have MERTS on your computer, but have not previously filed from this computer, please feel free to skip to Step #5. If you have previously filed from your computer, feel free to skip to Step #11

PART ONE – Download MERTS to your computer
1) You will need your committee ID and a password to download the software. PLEASE NOTE: the password to download the Module is NOT the same as your filing password. If you do not have a password to download the software, you can obtain it instantly here:

https://midisclose.nictusa.com/merts-software/

2) Download the PAC Module from the state:

https://mertsplus.com/software.html

Please save the SetupPAC.exe someplace on your computer where you can find it again!

3) Locate the SetupPAC.exe file and double click. The MERTS program will likely install in your C:\ drive
4) After following the steps in the install wizard, the MERTS program will launch automatically.

PART TWO – MERTS Initial set up
5) In MERTS, click on “Create a new committee file”
6) Select “Political Committee” or “Independent Committee” as appropriate, and click OK
7) Read and confirm you are creating a new committee. Click “I understand […]”.
8) Click OK on the next window to enter your committee information.
9) Complete the Filer Information to the best of your ability (this can be updated later) and click OK
10) Click “OK” on Adding A New Report
**CONTINUE WITH STEP #16 BELOW**

PART TWO AND A HALF – Opening an Existing Committee File
11) Launch your MERTS module
12) Under “File”, select “Open”
13) Select your Committee File. It will likely have an extension of “.MI_DCf”
14) Under “View”, select “Reports”
15) Under “Edit”, select “New”

PART THREE – Create the Report
16) Enter the dates of the reporting period (2018 Report Period Dates can be found here:

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/CFR_Quick_Dates_513001_7.pdf. Select the appropriate Reporting Period from the “Type of Report” dropdown. Click “OK”

PART FOUR – Upload the Names_Import.txt File
17) On your computer, locate the .zip file downloaded from ISP. Right click on the file, and select “Extract All” and follow the steps to extract the files.
18) Back in MERTS, on the Reports Tab, ensure the newly created Report is “highlighted”
19) Under “File”, select “Import Names”
20) You will be prompted to Save the Dataset. Click OK.
20) In the Browse window, locate your extracted zip file, and select “name_import.txt”. This should import right away – If there are issues, please contact support at this point. Otherwise, click “OK”.
21) The “Names” tab should immediately be displayed. Review the names, and double click on any name to edit as necessary.
22) Update Employers for Individuals
a. Under “View”, select “Names”
b. Double-click on Individual Records
c. Under “Employer”, search for Employer Name. If Employer Name does not exist, click on “Add New Name”, and fill out the fields as appropriate, using information as found on the PDFs.


PART FIVE – Election and Support/Oppose Set-Up

22) Set up Election Cycles
a. Under “View”, select “Election Cycles”
b. Under “Edit”, select “New”
c. Using the names and dates found here: https://mertsplus.com/mertsuserguide/index.php?n=MANUALS.ElectionCycles to create the appropriate elections for your Direct & Independent Expenditures.

23) Set up Support/Oppose Entities
a. Under “View”, select “Campaigns”
b. Under “Edit”, select “New”
c. Select either “Candidate” or “Ballot Measure”
d. Search for the Candidate/Ballot Measure, and fill in the information as per the PDF
e. Click “OK”. Repeat for each Support/Oppose Entity


PART SIX – Import Transactions

24) Under “File”, select “Import Transactions”
25) In the Browse window, locate your extracted zip file, and select “EXPN.txt”
26) A new window will open. Click on “Check this to truncate fields exceeding the maximum allowed length” if you choose too. Click “Start” either way.
27) The transactions will import – click “OK” after they are done. Review the errors/warnings on the import window. (You can also find this error log in your extracted file folder!) Click “Close”. NOTE: If there are errors with transactions that you do not understand, please contact support at this point.
28) Repeat the above 4 steps, but select “RCPT.txt”
29) The “All Transactions” tab will be immediately displayed. Review the transactions, and double click on any transaction to edit as necessary.

PART SEVEN – Manually Enter Transactions that Cannot Be Imported
The transactions on the page(s) after these instructions cannot be imported.

30) FOR “MEMO ITEMIZED CONTRIBUTIONS SCHEDULE 2A” and/or “MEMO ITEMIZED DIRECT EXPENDITURES SCHEDULE 2B”
a. Under “View”, select “All Transactions”
b. Locate the Parent Transaction Name – use the “Memo of” / “Parent Date” / “Parent Amount” on the PDF to help you locate the proper parent transaction.
c. Right click on the Parent Transaction and select “Memo Subitem”
d. Under “Name”, navigate to the Entity Name
e. Enter in Transaction Date & Amount (and description if appropriate)
f. Click “OK”
g. This will show on the “All Transactions” with an “(m)” before the amount, to indicate the amount is a memo.

31) FOR “ITEMIZED IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS SCHEDULE 2-IK”
a. Under “View”, select “Summary Page & Data Entry”
b. Double-click on “Add New” next to Line 6: “In-Kind Contributions”
c. Under “Name” navigate to the Entity Name
d. Enter in Transaction Date & Amount (and description if appropriate)
e. For Inkind Contributions, be sure to include a Description and select a Type of Inkind (example: Goods/Services Purchased)
f. Click “OK”

32) FOR “ITEMIZED INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES SCHEDULE 2B-1”
a. Under “View”, select “Summary Page & Data Entry”
b. Double-click on “Add New” next to Line 6: “In-Kind Contributions”
c. Under “Name” navigate to the Parent Entity Name
d. Enter in Transaction Date & Amount (and description if appropriate)
e. Select the Supported/Opposed Candidate/Committee and select “Support or Oppose” (if appropriate)
f. Click “OK”

PART EIGHT – Review the Report
33) Under “View”, select “Summary Page & Data Entry”; review the Summary Totals
34) Under “Filer”, select “Report View & Print”; review report and correct as needed
35) Under “Filer”, select “Validate”. Correct any fatal errors. Correct any Warnings as appropriate.

PART NINE – File the Report
36) Under “View”, select “Reports”. Right click on the report, and select “Close Report”
37) Fill in the fields as appropriate
38) Under “File”, select “Upload”. If you get a message about warnings, click “Yes” that you would like to continue.
39) IN the new window, enter your filing password, committee ID & email. Click “OK”