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News & Sales: Upcoming Important Election-Related Dates

The Nov. 3 General Election is a mere six weeks away. Broadcasters should note some important upcoming election-related dates of interest. Most of them apply to campaigns and individual voters, but the weekend before the election comes with certain obligations for stations.

Monday, Oct. 5
This is the last day an individual may register to vote for the Nov. 3 General Election, as well as the due date for an important state campaign finance report – the so-called “30-day out” report due to the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC). Political campaigns are required to report funds raised, funds spent and cash-on-hand for the previous three months. These reports give stations a better idea of where campaigns are financially.

Tuesday, Oct. 13
Early voting begins for the Nov. 3 General Election.

Thursday, Oct. 15
Quarterly federal campaign finance reports are due to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). The last quarterly federal report details funds raised, funds spent and cash-on-hand from July 1 through Sept. 30. 

Thursday, Oct. 22
Pre-General Election campaign finance report due to the FEC.  It covers campaign finance for the period of Oct. 1-15.

Monday, Oct. 26
The last state campaign finance report prior to the Nov. 3 general election, the so-called “eight-day-out” report, is due to the TEC. It is the last look at a state campaign’s financial health prior to election day.

Friday, Oct. 30
This is the last day an individual may vote early for the Nov. 3 General Election.

Friday, Oct. 30 – Nov. 1
As TAB’s Guide to Political Broadcasting notes, stations that have provided weekend access to any commercial advertiser within the 12 months preceding the pre-election period must provide access to federal candidates the weekend before the election.

However, stations need only offer candidates the kinds of weekend services that they previously made available to commercial advertisers.

Thus, if a station has provided weekend access only for deleting copy or canceling spots, as opposed to selling and scheduling new spots, the station is only required to provide the same pre-election weekend services to federal candidates.

However, even if a station has not been open on the weekend in the year prior to the election, the station must still give candidates access to station personnel over the last weekend preceding anelection in order to allow candidates to effectively make use of their Equal Opportunities rights.

Tuesday, Nov. 3
General Election day

Thursday, Dec. 3
Post-general election campaign finance reports due to the FEC.  These cover federal campaign expense during the period of Oct. 16 – Nov. 23.

Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021
The year-end campaign finance reports are due to the FEC.  These cover federal campaigns’ remaining paid expenses and cash on hand through Dec. 31, 2020.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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