New FCC Rule on Write-In Candidates Goes into Effect

As reported previously, the FCC enacted new rules regarding write-in candidates.  The issue is when should a station consider a write-in candidate to be a “legally qualified” candidate and therefor subject to the lowest unit rate, access for federal candidates and equal opportunities rules?  The problem is that write in candidates do not often get the endorsement of political parties.

The FCC requires that stations look at a number of factors to determine if a write in candidate is legally qualified.  A key factor is whether write-in candidates make a substantial showing that they are a legitimate candidate in order to qualify for the benefits under the FCC’s political broadcasting rules.  Under its new rules stations must now consider a write-in candidate’s social media and online presence when deciding if the candidate is a “legally qualified candidate.”  In its January decision the FCC noted the new rule would

“Revise the definition of “legally qualified candidate for public office” to add the creation of a campaign website and the use of social media for the purpose of promoting or furthering a campaign for public office to the existing list of activities that may be considered in determining whether an individual running as a write-in candidate has made a “substantial showing” of his or her bona fide candidacy.”

The new rules became effective March 14th.  For more information click HERE.


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