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Photo: Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images

Google informed its advertising partners on Wednesday that beginning Dec. 10, it will lift the post-election political ad ban that went into effect after polls closed on Nov. 3, according to an email obtained by Axios.

The big picture: The lift comes about a month ahead of two crucial Georgia runoff races that will determine control of the Senate.

  • Millions of dollars have been pouring into the Senate runoffs, but most of that money thus far has been channeled into local broadcast ads due to Google and Facebook's extended political ad bans.

Details: Beginning Thursday, Google says it will be lifting its "sensitive event" policy, which it put in place to help prevent misinformation spread via ads that concern sensitive events like elections or public health crises.

  • Once the sensitive event policy is lifted, its systems will again start enabling ads to be purchased across all of its ad-serving platforms (Google Ads, DV360, YouTube, and AdX Authorized Buyer) that fall under the scope of its election ads policy.
  • Google's political ad policies are different from the policies used to enforce rules around most commercial ads in that some audience targeting options are restricted.

Google considers the following ad criteria as "election-related":

  • Mentions current state or federal officeholder, a candidate, political party, or ballot measure
  • Mentions federal or state elections within the ad
  • Based on election-related search queries, including on candidates or officeholders.

Flashback: When the ban was first announced in October, advertisers were told that they should expect the ban to last for at least seven days after Election Day, and that Google would review the situation on a weekly basis if it extends longer.

What's next: While Google says it no longer considers the post-election period to be a sensitive event, it will still "rigorously enforce" its ads policies, "which strictly prohibit demonstrably false information that could significantly undermine trust in elections or the democratic process, among other forms of abuse."

Go deeper ... Scoop: Google to block election ads after Election Day

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.