Table of Contents
- A - Committee Treasurer, Designated Record Keeper and Depository
- A1 - Campaign Finance Recordkeeping - Best Practices
- A2 - Information for Michigan Financial Institutions
- B - Registering a Committee With a Statement of Organization Form
- B1 - Filing Requirements
- C - The Reporting Waiver
- D - Electronic Filing of Campaign Statements (State Level Committees Only)
- E - Late Filing Fees, Waivers and Reviews
- F - Fundraisers
- G - Immediate Disclosure Reports
- 48 Hour/Late Contribution ReportsSpecial Election Independent Expenditure Reports24-Hour Reports
- H - Committee Types
- I - Use of Public Facilities, Funds, Etc, Prohibited
- J - Identification Requirements
- K - Out-of-State Groups
- K1 - Independent Expenditure Committees (IEC/Super PAC) Groups, Organizations, Corporations, Unions and Domestic Dependent Sovereigns (DDS/Indian Tribes)
- K2 - Federal Candidate Committees
- L - Independent Contractors (Media Buyers and Other Vendors Purchasing Goods for the Committee)
- M - Recount Expenses
- N - Violations and Penalties
- O - Prohibited Contributions
- O1 - Contributions Exemptions
- O2 - Contributions Received by a Partnership,LLC or PLLC
- P - Special Primary, General and Recall Elections
- Q - Individuals and the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA)
- R - Incumbent Candidates
- S - Campaign Signs - FAQs
- T - Transfers
- W - Dissolution of a Committee
- X - Declaratory Rulings and Interpretive Statements
- Y - The Complaint Process
- Z - Reference Information
SPECIAL PRIMARY, GENERAL AND RECALL ELECTIONS
Section 5 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA) provides that a special election is an election for the purposes of the MCFA. The types of elections included are provided below.
- Special Primary Election;
- Special General Election;
- Special Recall Primary Election;
- Special Recall General Election; or
- Recall Election
To comply with the contribution limits set out by the MCFA for an office being elected at a special election, the committee must understand the definition of “election cycle.” Election cycle is defined below.
- For a special general election, the period begins 1) the day a special general election is called or 2) the date the office becomes vacant, whichever is earlier. The election cycle ends on the day of the special general election. The special primary election does not have a separate cycle apart from the special general election cycle.
- For a special recall general election or recall election, the period begins 1) the day a committee has been organized to gather petition signatures and to promote the recall or 2) the date petition language stating the reasons for the recall has been filed with the filing official for the purpose of a clarity/factual hearing, whichever is earlier. The election cycle ends 1) the day of the special general recall election or recall election, or 2) the day the appropriate election filing official finds the petitions insufficient and determines that no recall election will be scheduled. The special primary recall election does not have a separate cycle apart from the special general recall election cycle.
Election cycles are date ranges used to accumulate contributions and expenditures for reporting and contribution limit purposes. Election cycles must be understood to avoid violating the MCFA by accepting or making an excess contribution. Contribution limits for all offices are based on the election cycle of the office. For the contribution limits of specific offices, please see Contribution Limits Chart.
CANDIDATE COMMITTEES INVOLVED IN A SPECIAL ELECTION/RECALL ONLY A candidate participating in a special election must register his or her Candidate Committee with the appropriate filing official. Every candidate is required to establish a Candidate Committee to further his/her nomination or election. In the case of a candidate who seeks election to an office being filled at a special election, the contribution limits are set within the dates mapped out by the above definition of election cycle. The funds must be deposited into and expenditures made from the Candidate Committee account.
CANDIDATE COMMITTEES INVOLVED IN A SPECIAL ELECTION/RECALL AND A REGULAR ELECTION A candidate participating in a special election and a regular election for the same office must register a single Candidate Committee with the appropriate filing official. Every candidate is required to establish a Candidate Committee to further his/her nomination or election. If a committee has already been established for that office, the existing committee must be used for both the regular election and the special election. Committees of candidates participating in both a special election and a regular election may receive contributions for both the regular election and the special election. Care must be taken to ensure that the contribution limits are not violated.
- Contributions received before the beginning of the election cycle of the special election are attributed toward the contribution limit of the contributor for the regular election.
- Contributions received during the election cycle of the special election that are designated in writing for the special election must not exceed the contribution limit of the contributor for the election cycle of the special election.
- Contributions received during the election cycle of the special election that are designated in writing for the regular election must not exceed the contribution limit of the contributor for the election cycle of the regular election. These contributions must be accumulated with the contributions received prior to the election cycle of the special election in order to calculate the amount contributed for the regular election.
- Undesignated contributions received during the overlapping period of the election cycles can be applied by the committee to either the special election or general election, but not both. Again, the contribution must not exceed the contribution limit of the contributor.
- Contributions made after the date of the special election can be designated in writing for the special election only if the contribution does not exceed either the contribution limit of the contributor or the Candidate Committee’s net outstanding debts and obligations from the special election.
- Contributions made after the date of the special election are attributed toward the contribution limit of the contributor for the regular election unless they are specifically designated in writing for the special election. These contributions must be accumulated with the contributions received throughout the entire election cycle of the regular election in order to calculate the amount contributed for the regular election.
All contributions must be deposited into and expenditures made from the Candidate Committee account. Candidate Committees are urged to secure accounting resources to ensure that all special election and regular election contributions are separately identified as the election cycles for the two elections are running concurrently. This will assist the Candidate Committee in properly reporting special election activity and accounting for all contributions.
Leftover Funds After the date of the special election it may be necessary to determine whether the contributions designated for the special election are a part of the leftover funds. Left over funds are contributions designated for the special election in excess of the amount spent by the committee for special election expenditures. A candidate committee will make this determination by using a normally accepted accounting procedure such as LIFO (last in, first out). Left over funds can be returned to contributors, re-designated by the committee to the regular election to the extent that this re-designation does not exceed the contribution limits of the regular election, or disposed of according to the provisions of section 45 of the MCFA. Funds returned to contributors includes the candidate as a contributor. The returned amount cannot exceed the amount originally contributed by the person.
PACs AND POLITICAL PARTY COMMITTEES Other committees that wish to participate in a special election must also understand the election cycle definition to avoid violating the MCFA by making an excess contribution. Committees are encouraged to track the contribution limits by clearly designating the contributions for the special election verses any regular elections that the committee may be participating in by contributing to candidates. Committees using the MERTS software must create a special election campaign in the Campaigns tab of the software.
REQUIRED FILINGS As a special election is an election under the MCFA, all applicable filing deadlines for all Campaign Statements and reports must be followed. This includes detailed Campaign Statements, 48 Hour/Late Contribution Reports, 24-Hour Reports and Special Election Independent Expenditure Reports.
GUBERNATORIAL RECALLS The rules for reporting under the MCFA for committees involved in recall for the office of governor, must follow a different set of requirements. Please see the Declaratory Ruling issued to Mr. Patterson on January 3, 1984.