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Author: Joel Kristenson
Last Updated: 2016-05-19
This article walks through the steps to create new election cycles in your database, set your default/previous/next cycles in your Committee record, and how to mass update a list of contributions to a specific election.
Tip: Use the Ctrl+F hot key to jump to different sections of this article (example: “#1”, “#2” or “Related Resources”.
#1 View your Current List of Election Cycles and Add New Ones
#2 Set Your ‘Default’, Previous, and Next Election Cycles in your Committee Record
#3 Mass Update a List of Contributions to a Specific Election Cycle
#4 Related Resources
#1 – View your Current List of Election Cycles and Add New Ones
Note: This article assumes you have administrative access for your database.
To check view your current list of elections follow Application Menu > System Manager >Lists > Elections
This will populate your current list of Election Cycles with related information. In this example I had 24 elections, you can sort from oldest to newest by clicking on the ‘ID’ column two times.
You can click on any of the underline blue links in the list to open an election and make modifications if necessary, example:
To create a new election click the [+ New] button on the search tool strip.
Under the General tab enter the election Name, Cycle Start Date, Election Date, and the Election Type. The image below shows my example election called Primary 2018 with a cycle start date of 11/2/2016, and an election date of 9/1/2018.
Navigate to the Limits tab and fill out the contribution limits for the election. These can fluctuate as the FEC changes their rules so it’s always a good idea to confirm with your FEC analyst what the current laws allow for.
If you want to activate the election for the mobile poll watching application you’ll do that under the Poll Watch tab as shown below.
Once you’re all finished creating your new election you can save-and-close it.
Click the [Search] button and you will now see your newly created election in your election list. Mine had an ID of 26.
Repeat these steps until all of the election cycles you need have been created.
#2 – Set your ‘Default’, Previous, and Next Election Cycles in your Committee Record
Under Application Menu follow System Manager > Lists > Committee and click on your Committee Name to open the Committee Record. In my example my committee was called ‘Demo Campaign Database – Joel’. *If you have more than one committee you’ll need to select the one you need from your list that you want to configure election cycles for.
Navigate to the Dates and Elections tab.
Click the ‘Current Election’ drop-down and select the election you want set as your current election. In my example I used the new 2018 primary election that was created in the previous steps.
Select the elections from the drop-downs for your Previous Election, and Next Election. In my example I set my ‘Previous Election’ to General 2016 and the ‘Next Election’ to General 2018.
New contributions that come into your database will now default to the ‘current’ election cycle that was configured in the Committee Record, whether they come in via an online donation, are mass imported, or hand entered. My example is below for a hand-entered check contribution.
#3 – Mass Update a List of Contributions to a Specific Election
Note: Sometimes users will realize a bit late that their election has passed and they didn’t update their ‘current’ cycle so contributions that are coming in are flagged for the incorrect election. Instead of going one record at a time to fix the issue you can mass update all of the contributions for the particular date period to the correct election cycle.
Important: Unlike modifying a single contribution record that’s already deposited, the mass update procedure *DOES NOT* require that you un-deposit it prior to running this operation, the contributions will update just fine without going through that extra effort. This is demonstrated below as some of my contributions had already been deposited prior to running the mass update.
Tip: It’s a very wise decision to start a new session of Trail Blazer prior to running these mass updates, if you accidentally make a mistake it will be easier to roll-it-back.
Navigate to the Contributions list by following Application Menu > Voter >Contribution/Pledges > Contributions
Run your search query for contributions that are not set to the correct election, this is usually run by a date range. In my example I queried for all contributions for my ‘General 2016’ date-range of 11/5/2014 – 11/1/2016 and this populated a record count of 13. As shown in the image below all of the contributions *should* be connected to the General 2016 election but many are not.
After your list of contributions have populated select File > Update Election…
Choose the election from the drop-down, and click [OK]. In this example I selected the General 2016 Election which the contributions within this date-range were meant to be ‘tied’ to.
Trail Blazer will run the process to update the contributions with the election specified and will update you with a popup message when it’s finished. Click [OK] to finish. In my example all 13 contribution records were updated to the General 2016 election.
Now you can click the [Search] button to refresh your list and you should notice that the Election Name has changed for all of the contribution records within your grid.
Repeat these steps as needed. It’s not a bad idea to periodically run a search by your election(s) date ranges and verify that if you search by the ‘just the election’ in the drop-down menu that the counts are exactly the same. If they aren’t you know that you’ll have some cleanup to do.
Article: Add an Election to Your Trail Blazer Database
Article: Setting the Time Zone in your Trail Blazer Database
Article: Calculating cycle-to-date numbers for “Schedule A” Contribution entries
Article: Creating and Filing Your First FEC Report
Article: Add Elections for Contributions
Article: Mass Update – Changing or Clearing Fields
Article: How to Setup and Use the Mobile Poll Watching App
Article: Polling – How to Setup and Run a Poll – Inside your Trail Blazer Database
Article: Election Day Procedures | Poll Watchers
Video: Election Cycles Updates to Contribution Records (en masse)
Video: Contribution – Entering Earmarked Contributions
Video: Contribution – F3L Bundler or How to Track Who Brought in a Donation
Video: Mobile Canvassing
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