To: State of Alaska employees
From: Becky Hultberg, Commissioner
Date: June 29, 2012
Re: State employee responsibilities regarding the 2012 primary and general elections
As we approach the August primary election, political activity is increasing. Elections provide us with an important voice in our democracy. They are critical to maintaining a free, open and just civil society. During an election season it is important for all of us to remember that as employees of the State of Alaska we must follow certain codes of conduct. As employees of the State, we are prohibited by Alaska Statute from using the state email system or resources for partisan political purposes and from promoting partisan preferences during work or official state business.
If you receive a partisan political email message soliciting a response, you may reply that Alaska Statutes prohibit you from the use of state resources for partisan political purposes and simply ask the sender to discontinue further messages concerning campaign activities.
Along the same line, Alaska Statutes stipulate that employees must refrain from displaying partisan web sites or email messages and from wearing or displaying political buttons or clothing while at work.
For additional information and clarity, here are the rights and restrictions applicable to employee political activities:
Alaska Statute 39.25.178 provides that a state employee may:
(1) be a member of a national, state, or local political party;
(2) take part in a political campaign;
(3) express political opinions; however, while engaged on official business, a state employee may not display or distribute partisan political material;
(4) register party preference;
(5) serve as a voting or nonvoting delegate to a party convention;
(6) be appointed, nominated, or elected to nonpartisan public office in a local government unit; and
(7) make contributions to a political party or a candidate for public office.
Alaska Statute 39.25.160 states certain restrictions:
(1) a classified employee may not take an active part in the management of a political party above the precinct level;
(2) a person may not require an assessment, subscription, contribution, or service for a political party from a state employee;
(3) a person may not seek or attempt to use a political party endorsement in connection with an appointment or promotion in the classified service;
(4) an employee in the classified or partially exempt service who seeks nomination or becomes a candidate for state or national elective office must immediately resign any position held in state service. The employee's position becomes vacant on the date the employee files a declaration of candidacy for state or national elective office. (This provision also applies to many employees in the exempt service. Exempt employees should consult AS 39.25.160(e).);
(5) action affecting the employment status of an employee in the classified service (or an applicant for a position in the classified service), including appointment, promotion, demotion, suspension, or removal, may not be taken or withheld on the basis of unlawful discrimination due to political beliefs; and
(6) a state employee, whether in the classified, partially exempt, or exempt service, may not campaign on behalf of a political candidate on government time.
These provisions do not replace good judgment and may not cover every possible situation you encounter. If you have additional questions or need clarification, please contact your supervisor for assistance.
Thank you for your cooperation regarding this matter, and as always, thank you for the work you do each day for Alaskans.