Campaign Finance Election Cycles Dates

The Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA) sets contribution limits for state level, judicial and local offices. These contribution limits are determined or accumulated based on the election cycle of the office or proposal. Election cycles can be thought of as a time frame. Election cycles are reset after each election.

Accepting or making a contribution in excess of the election cycle limit is a violation of the MCFA. So, to avoid violating the MCFA by accepting or making an excess contribution, committees must be aware of both:

  • the relevant election cycle time frame, and
  • the dollar limit that is prescribed by the MCFA.

For current contribution limits please see the Contribution Limits Chart.

DETERMINING THE ELECTION CYCLE TIME FRAME FOR A CAMPAIGN

For a general election, the election cycle begins the day following the last general election in which the office appeared on the ballot and ends on the day of the next general election in which the office appears on the ballot. For a special election the election cycle begins the day the special general election is called or the date the office becomes vacant (which ever is earlier) and ends on the day of the special general election. Section 5(3)

ENTERING THE ELECTION CYCLE INTO THE MERTS SOFTWARE

The MERTS Software is designed to calculate the cumulative contribution totals and expenditure totals made by committees and provide warnings if the committee may have accepted or made an excess contribution. For the software to work properly, the election cycles must be entered and used properly. See the MERTS User Guide for more information.

Candidate Committees and Ballot Question Committees: A separate election cycle must be entered for each campaign for which the committee has received contributions or made expenditures. Directly following each election, a new election cycle must be entered, even if you there are no plans to participate in the next election. The date of a contribution must always be associated with the election cycle whose date range includes this date.

PACs and Political Party Committees: PACs (excluding Caucus Committees) and Political Party Committees do no use election cycles to track their own contributions, but rather must use and enter the election cycles of Candidate Committees and Ballot Question Committees receiving their contributions. (The PAC or Political Party must report this as an expenditure; the receiving committee reports the contribution.) This is necessary to ensure that the system is tracking the contribution limits and cumulative totals as required by the MCFA.

It is not necessary or beneficial to enter a separate election cycle for each candidate committee to which the committee has made contributions. For example, all committees for state representative will have same the 2 year election cycle. The election cycle would be entered once in the Election Cycles Tab. When entering the expenditure information, the same election cycle entry is associated with any and all state representative campaigns during the same election cycle.

Recommendations for Naming Election Cycles: For all election cycles, it is recommended that the election cycle name is entered in the MERTS Software with the month and year of election and the length of the cycle. For example, a 2 year cycle for the November General election in 2020 would be: 11/20 2 YR.

CAMPAIGN STATEMENTS THAT SPAN OVER TWO ELECTION CYCLES

When filing a campaign statement that contains activity in the old and the new election cycle, use the election cycle of the past election or the old cycle. In this way, the cumulative totals on the summary page reflect the totals for the completed election cycle. This overlap occurs on every Post-General Campaign Statement and January Campaign Statement.

ELECTION CYCLE DATES

The election cycles for upcoming even year general elections are provided in the charts below. A chart is provided to assist in the calculation of an election not included here or for a special election.

November 3, 2020 General Election
Office Cycle Election Cycle Begins Election Cycle Ends
Supreme Court

State Board of Education
State University Boards

8 year cycle 11/7/2012

Court of Appeals
Circuit Court
District Court
Probate Court
Local Offices with 6 year terms

6 year cycle 11/5/2014
11/3/2020
Local Offices with 4 year terms 4 year cycle 11/9/2016
State Representative
Ballot Issues
Local Offices with 2 year terms
2 year cycle 11/7/2018
November 8, 2022 General Election
Office Cycle Election Cycle Begins Election Cycle Ends
Supreme Court

State Board of Education
State University Boards

8 year cycle 11/5/2014

Court of Appeals
Circuit Court
District Court
Probate Court
Local Offices with 6 year terms

6 year cycle 11/9/2016
11/8/2022
State Senate
Gov. & Lt. Gov.
Sec. of State
Attorney Gen.
Local Offices with 4 year terms
4 year cycle 11/7/2018
State Representative
Ballot Issues
Local Offices with 2 year terms
2 year cycle 11/4/2020
Election Cycle Dates Calculator
Office Election Cycle Begins the day after the
last election for that office.
Enter the previous date of election + one.
Election Cycle Ends on the
date of the Election.
Enter the date of the Election
Offices with 8 year terms ____/____/____
Offices with 6 year terms ____/____/____ ____/____/____
Offices with 4 year terms ____/____/____
Ballot Issues
Offices with 2 year terms
____/____/____
Special Election Cycle Dates Calculator
Office Election Cycle Begins the earlier
of 1) the day the election is
called or 2) the day the
seat becomes vacant
Enter the Date
Election Cycle Ends on the
date of the Special Election.
Enter the date of the Special Election
Office of Special Election ____/____/____ ____/____/____

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Page last modified on December 14, 2018, at 01:15 PM