The NC State general counsel’s office has provided the following information for employees in advance of the May 8 primary election.
Being an active citizen means being engaged in the political process and exercising your right to vote. As state employees, we do not lose our rights as private citizens to be involved in supporting or opposing candidates or issues. However, we are not permitted to campaign or lobby while working, and university resources cannot be used in this regard. State law prohibits employees from using work time and university resources (such as computers, email, copy machines, telephones and vehicles) to support or oppose political candidates and issues. As a citizen you can write letters and send emails to candidates and newspapers, but not on university letterhead. You cannot disseminate campaign or issue-related literature on the university’s email listservs (email distribution lists). While working, you may engage in incidental personal communications about political issues and candidates provided you do not violate these legal restrictions.
Under federal law, the university is permitted to conduct broad voter education, public opinion polling on issues, and voter registration drives, provided they are conducted in a non‐partisan way. Providing opportunities to speak on an equal basis for all registered candidates for public office is also allowed. Candidate appearances, speeches and debates for partisan political purposes are allowed in university facilities only if a registered student organization sponsors the candidate and the facilities use regulation (REG07.25.11) is followed.
For guidelines for employees on permissible political campaign-related activities, read the Political Activities legal topic.
For questions relating to specific situations, contact Assistant General Counsel Shawn Troxler at 515‐1527 or General Counsel Eileen Goldgeier at 515‐3932. The State Board of Elections website can be accessed at: http://www.ncsbe.gov.