Franking Blackout Dates

A Member may not send any unsolicited mass mailing or mass communication less than 90 days immediately before the date of any primary or general election (whether regular, special, or runoff) in which the Member is a candidate for public office.

Please Note: Primaries are subject to change. The General Election Blackout for Members, Delegates and the Resident Commissioner begins August 5, 2020. Some states may have runoff date restrictions.

Jump to the blackout dates for your state.

The dates outlined below are for reference purpose only. Blackout dates were collected from publicly available information from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia elections’ office. All information is subject to change. 

It is the Member’s responsibility to comply with the law and should be aware of any election in which they are a candidate for office. 

This page is up-to-date as of August 15, 2019. Please contact the Franking Office at x59337 for more information.


Title 39 U.S.C. Section 3210 (a)(6)(A) provides that a Member may not send mass mailings during the 90 days immediately preceding the date of any election (primary, general, special, or run off) in which the Member’s name will appear on the ballot as a candidate for election or re-election to any public office. A mass mailing is defined as an unsolicited mailing of 500 or more pieces of substantially identical content - whether mailed singly or in bulk - over the course of a legislative year (January 3 of one year through January 2 of the following year).

Likewise, House Administration Regulations prohibit unsolicited mass communications – regardless of media – 90 days immediately preceding the date of any election (primary, general, special, or run off) in which the Member’s name will appear on the ballot.

Examples of prohibited mass communications and mass mailings include:

  • Automated telephone (“robo”) calls
  • E-communications distributed to non-subscribers
  • Advertisements (radio, TV, internet, newspaper, etc.) of town hall meetings or of the personal appearance of the Member and/or the Member's employees at an official event
  • Mass mailings, e.g., newsletters, meeting notices, newspaper inserts, surveys and questionnaires, etc.
  • Text messages, flyers, leaflets, handouts, etc.
  • Paid video or audio communications distributed to more than 499 unsolicted recipients

The restrictions do not apply to:

  • Advertisements for employment and internship opportunities in the Member’s congressional office, U.S. Military Academy Days, and An Artistic Discovery
  • E-communications distributed to subscribers within the district the Member currently represents
  • Mailings or communications which are in direct response, i.e., a solicited response, to inquiries or requests from the person to whom the response is directed
  • Mass mailings or communications to Members of Congress, government officials (Federal, state, and/or local), and mailings of news releases to bona fide communications media outlets
  • Updates to the Member’s official web site(s) or social media pages
  • Video teleconferencing services in support of official business

In addition to understanding the above stated regulations, it is imperative that each Member and his/her staff be knowledgeable of their state election laws and how they may apply to pre-election mailings and communications. Do not rely on vendors to be aware of these restrictions and when and how they apply to the distribution of your official mailings and communications.


Blackout Dates:

Find the list of 2019 congressional primary election dates and the "blackout" date on which the corresponding 90-day pre-election cutoff period begins. Since primary and blackout dates may change as a result of state actions, all updates pertaining to the 90-day blackout period will be posted on the Committee’s site once we are notifed.

View as a PDF

2020 Congressional Primaries (Alphabetical)

State

Congressional Primary Date

90 Day Blackout Begins

Alabama

03/03/2020

12/04/2019

Alaska

08/18/2020

05/20/2020

American Samoa

N/A

N/A

Arizona

08/04/2020

05/06/2020

Arkansas

03/03/2020

12/04/2019

California

03/03/2020

12/04/2019

Colorado

06/30/2020

04/01/2020

Connecticut

09/11/2020

06/13/2020

District of Columbia

06/02/2020

03/04/2020

Delaware

09/15/2020

06/17/2020

Florida

08/18/2020

05/20/2020

Georgia

05/19/2020

02/19/2020

Guam

08/29/2020

05/31/2020

Hawaii

08/08/2020

05/10/2020

Idaho

05/19/2020

02/19/2020

Illinois

03/17/2020

12/18/2019

Indiana

05/05/2020

02/05/2020

Iowa

06/02/2020

03/04/2020

Kansas

08/04/2020

05/06/2020

Kentucky

05/19/2020

02/19/2020

Louisiana

11/03/2020

08/05/2020

Maine

06/09/2020

03/11/2020

Maryland

04/28/2020

01/29/2020

Massachusetts

09/15/2020

06/17/2020

Michigan

08/04/2020

05/06/2020

Minnesota

08/11/2020

05/13/2020

Mississippi

03/10/2020

12/11/2019

Missouri

08/04/2020

05/06/2020

Montana

06/02/2020

03/04/2020

Nebraska

05/12/2020

02/12/2020

Nevada

06/09/2020

03/11/2020

New Hampshire

09/08/2020

06/10/2020

New Jersey

06/02/2020

03/04/2020

New Mexico

06/02/2020

03/04/2020

New York

06/23/2020

03/25/2020

North Carolina

03/03/2020

12/04/2019

North Dakota

06/09/2020

03/11/2020

N. Mariana Islands

N/A

N/A

Ohio

03/17/2020

12/18/2019

Oklahoma

06/30/2020

04/01/2020

Oregon

05/19/2020

02/19/2020

Pennsylvania

04/28/2020

01/29/2020

Puerto Rico

Pending

 

Rhode Island

09/08/2020

06/10/2020

South Carolina

06/09/2020

03/11/2020

South Dakota

06/02/2020

03/04/2020

Tennessee

08/06/2020

05/08/2020

Texas

03/03/2020

12/04/2019

Utah

06/23/2020

03/25/2020

Vermont

08/11/2020

05/13/2020

Virginia

06/09/2020

03/11/2020

Virgin Islands

08/01/2020

05/03/2020

Washington

08/04/2020

05/06/2020

West Virginia

05/12/2020

02/12/2020

Wisconsin

08/11/2020

05/13/2020

Wyoming

08/18/2020

05/20/2020

2020 General Election: 11/03/2020

90-day Blackout: 08/05/2020

*(Date as of 08/08/2019)

*Source by Secretary of State websites and Federal Election Commission.

*Dates listed are tentative and are subject to change.

Issues: