October 6 marks the 25th anniversary of the Hatch Act Reform Amendments signed into law by former President Bill Clinton. The 1993 law amended the original 1939 Hatch Act, which originally prohibited nearly all partisan political activities by federal employees. The 1993 law allowed federal employees to engage in partisan political activities during off-duty hours so that they can exercise their democratic rights as American citizens.
As the November election draws near, we want to make sure you know your Hatch Act rights as a federal employee. Here's what you can do under the Hatch Act:
- Safe activities when off duty, off site, not in uniform, not using government equipment or systems
- Contact your elected officials to educate them about federal employee issues.
- Display a bumper sticker on your personal vehicle.
- Attend a candidate rally.
- Put a candidate sign in your yard or windows.
- Express your opinion about a candidate, participate in a phone bank, or canvass for votes for a candidate.
- Send political materials of your choice to AFGE members at their home address or home email.
- Conduct a voter registration drive.
Safe activities while at work:
- Talk with your co-workers about legislative and agency issues like pay, working conditions, contracting out, and personnel reform.
- Wear red to show solidarity with fellow federal employees on these important issues. Read our guidance on wearing red here.
- Invite all employees, AFGE members, and potential members to a meeting at work to discuss issues affecting them. Then, sign up new members.
- Post fliers about issues important to federal employees on bulletin boards.
- Hold a rally, set up a picket line, or hold a press conference on federal employee issues. These are not Hatch Act violations, but you may want to check other regulations limiting these types of activities that may apply to your agency.
For additional information or questions about political fundraising, visit the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) website.