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Taking a look at political rules as Super Tuesday approaches

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Politics and work don't mix. For the military and Defense Department civilian employees, rules governing political behavior spill into their personal lives as well.

The following rules govern activities relating to federal, state and local political campaigns and elections. 

Guidelines for civilians

Civilian employees may:
*be candidates for public office in nonpartisan election;
*register and vote as they choose;
*assist in voter registration drives;
*express opinions about candidates and issues;
*contribute money to political organizations;
*attend political fundraising functions;
*attend and be active at political rallies and meetings;
*join and be an active member of a political party or club;
*sign nominating petitions;
*campaign for or against referendum questions, municipal ordinances or constitutional amendments;
*campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections;
*make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections;
*distribute campaign literature in partisan elections;
*display bumper stickers on a personally owned vehicle;
*hold office in political clubs or parties; and
*run as independent candidates for election to partisan political office and accept or receive political contributions in local city elections.
 
Candidacy for, and service in a partisan political office shall not result in neglect or interference with the performance of the duties of the federal employee or create a conflict of interest.

Civilian employees may not:
*use official authority or influence to interfere with an election;
*collect political contributions unless both individuals are members of the same federal labor organization or employee organization, and the one solicited is not a subordinate employee;
*knowingly solicit or discourage the political activity of any person who has business before the agency
*engage in political activity while on duty including sending of political  email, in any government office, wearing an official uniform or while using a government vehicle;
*solicit political contributions from the general public;
*be candidates for public office in partisan elections;
*wear political buttons on duty; nor
*display large political signs, banners or posters on personally owned vehicles while on base.

Guidelines for the military

Military members may:
*register to vote, and express a personal opinion on candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Armed Forces;
*attend political meetings or rallies as a spectator while not in uniform;
*join a political club and attend its meetings while off duty and not in uniform;
*display a bumper sticker on a private vehicle; and
*make a personal monetary donation.

Military members may not:
*participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions;
*speak before a partisan political gathering of any kind;
*march or ride in a partisan political parade;
*display a large political sign, banner or poster on a private vehicle on or off base; nor
*attend political meetings or rallies or join a political club and attend its meetings while in uniform.

Editor's note: For more information, call the base legal office at 478-926-9276.