Election Guidelines for Public Employees
As we approach November and what is already a very intense political season, I want to take just a moment to remind us all, as public employees, to be aware of what we can and cannot do in regard to political activity. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the high points:
- Public resources: No public employee may spend public resources to promote or oppose a particular candidate, party, or ballot measure. Obviously, this constraint involves the direct expenditure of public money, but it also involves being engaged in partisan political activity during work hours. Public employees also may not use public resources such as email, computers, telephones, or photocopy equipment for political purposes.
- Personal symbolic support: Employees are allowed to wear political buttons, armbands, or clothing that conveys a political message -- as long as it is clear that this is symbolic of personal support, and not the position of the college. Buttons, stickers, and similar items at individual workstations are also allowed, but the college does reserve the right to request that displays be modified if a display could reasonably be construed to be a college-endorsed message rather than a personal expression of support.
- Hosting candidates and voting-participation activities: Public resources may be expended to encourage voter registration and voter participation in elections. Public resources may also be expended to host candidate or issue forums or other similar informative events. Forums, or other informative events, need to treat candidates or issues equally and provide contending parties with an equal opportunity to participate and be heard. The college’s and public employees’ role in such events needs to be that of the host and impartial broker, not the role of an advocate. If you are thinking of hosting such an event, please discuss it with Jennifer Boehmer to make sure that all requirements are met.
For more information, see this handy reference guide for public employees from the State's Elections Division.
Thanks everyone for being mindful of these guidelines. If you have any questions about government relations or advocacy efforts, please feel free to email Jennifer Boehmer.