2020 Election Reminders and Tips for Candidate Committees on the General Election Ballot

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Aloha Candidates,

With the General Election before us on November 3, 2020, the Commission would like to offer the following reminders and tips to candidates and their committees.  This is not a conclusive list.

  • Review and update all information on your Organizational Report – oftentimes, phone numbers and addresses have changed.
  • Make sure you have advertisement disclaimers (i.e., name and address of person paying for the advertisement) on all your advertisements including your signs, banners and digital advertisements. This may also be a good chance to take inventory of your past or older signs to make sure they have the necessary disclaimers to avoid any fines. The disclaimer is not required on “sundry items” such as clothing, bumper stickers, pins, buttons, and similar small items upon which the disclaimer cannot be conveniently printed.
  • If you are entering into contracts for electioneering communications, make sure you file your Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications with the Commission within 24 hours of executing a contract to make the expenditure for an advertisement that is being broadcast, published or sent by mail at a bulk rate from September 4, 2020 through November 3, 2020 to avoid any fines. The $2,000 aggregate threshold does not reset for the general election so if you already exceeded that threshold for the calendar year and have filed electioneering communication statements for the primary election, you must continue filing these statements for any general election electioneering communication ads regardless of amount.
  • If you plan on having a fundraiser for which the amount of the ticket is more than $25 per person, remember to file a Notice of Intent to Hold a Fundraiser with the Commission prior to the fundraiser start time and before the Commission office closes for the day at 4:30 p.m., Hawaiian standard time. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in a fine.
  • If you use campaign funds to purchase 2 tickets to a fundraiser for another candidate, remember to keep the tickets for your records.
  • If your committee is using a debit card, keep detailed records that will allow you to timely and accurately report all expenditures on your disclosure reports.
  • If your committee would like to make charitable donations or award scholarships to full-time students attending an institution of higher learning or vocational education school, you may not exceed two times your contribution limit (i.e., $2,000, $4,000, or $6,000). Further, you are subject to a prohibited period as follows:
    • From the date a candidate files nomination papers to the date of the general election on November 3, 2020, candidate committees are prohibited from making charitable donations with campaign funds unless you are declared duly and legally elected to the office prior to the general election or are unsuccessful in the primary or special primary election.
    • From the nomination paper deadline on June 2, 2020 to the general election on November 3, 2020, candidate committees are prohibited from using campaign funds to award scholarships to full-time students attending an institution of higher learning or a vocational education school unless you are declared duly and legally elected to the office prior to the general election or are unsuccessful in the primary or special primary election.
  • If a Super PAC approaches your candidate committee, it is important to remember that its support of your nomination or election to office must be “independent” and that you and your agents such as committee officers are not “coordinating” campaign activities with them. If either of these circumstances occur, then the spending done by the Super PAC on your behalf will be deemed to be a contribution to your campaign subject to your contribution limit and the Super PAC will lose its status as a Super PAC, and thus, may subject them to the $1,000 per election contribution limit of noncandidate committees.
  • A Super PAC that uses of your campaign material, without your knowledge or consent, in the “independent” advertising that is done by the Super PAC on your behalf, will be considered a contribution to your campaign. This will likely result in an excess contribution on the part of the Super PAC for which a fine will be assessed by the Commission against the Super PAC.
  • Be aware that expenditures or any other “coordinated activity” made by any person including an individual, party, corporation, business entity or labor union for the benefit of a candidate in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, candidate committee, or their agents, shall be considered to be a contribution to the candidate and expenditure by the candidate.

If you need assistance, please call our office at (808) 586-0285 or visit our website to review the various tools available (i.e., guidebooks and manuals) that will assist you, answer any questions, and help you file reports in the electronic filing system.

Thank you,
The Campaign Spending Commission