General Counsel

The Election Season and the Hatch Act

There are no national elections this year. But plenty of jurisdictions around the U.S. are holding municipal or state­wide elections this fall. If there’s an election in your area, remember to review provisions of the Hatch Act. It applies to all postal employees — including telecommuters.

Among other provisions, this federal law prohibits employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, in any government office, while wearing an official uniform, or while using a government vehicle.

That means no shirts, hats, buttons, or other items dis­playing the name or likeness of a candidate or political party. The law also prohibits partisan political messages in the workplace.

Using a postal computer or telephone to make a political contribution is prohibited by the Hatch Act, as is making political contributions while on the clock. Employees who use USPS® e-mail to send partisan political messages vio­late federal law and risk losing their jobs. Employees who receive e-mail containing such messages from outside the postal network should immediately delete them.

Employees can place political bumper stickers on their personal vehicles. However, there are limitations. If the car is parked on postal or other government property, the Hatch Act limits to one the number of visible bumper stickers that can be placed on the vehicle. If the vehicle is used for postal busi­ness, the employee must cover all political bumper stickers during the time the car is used for official work.

Employees aren’t completely prohibited from participating in the political process. They can register to vote and can sup­port their favorite candidates by voting on Election Day. Employees can participate in registration drives and contrib­ute money to political organizations. They also can be candi­dates for public office, but only in nonpartisan elections.

To learn more about the Hatch Act, see Employees also can contact their local Field Law Office, call the Ethics Helpline at 202-268-6346, or send an e-mail to for more information.