Reminder – Lowest Unit Charges Do Apply to Run-Off Elections, But Not to Complaints About Election Results

With election results still being tabulated in many states in close political races, we thought that it is worth reminding broadcasters of the advice given by the FCC in 2020, when it issued a public notice stating that Lowest Unit Charges (or lowest unit rates as they are often called) do not apply to post-election political ads (e.g., ads that urge ballots to be counted in any particular manner or objecting to the election results).  We wrote about that decision when it was released.  One important caveat to that advice is that LUC does apply to any elections that are held based on outcomes that were not determinative on Tuesday’s Election Day.  So, for instance, if there is a run-off election in any state (like the election for the US Senate from the state of Georgia that may be held on December 6, 2022 if neither candidate receives 50% of the votes cast by yesterday, once all those votes are counted).  That would mean that the LUC period is already in effect.  The 60-day period applies because the run-off is considered by the FCC to be another general election.  Other states have similar rules for run-offs where no candidate receives 50% of the vote.  So if there are run-offs in your service area, and candidates want to buy political advertising time, LUC will apply to those elections, and you will need to compute the appropriate period during which candidates cannot be charged more than the lowest unit charge for commercial advertising of the same class that runs in the same time period.

Courtesy Broadcast Law Blog