JA urges military, civilians to be mindful of political do's, don'ts
By Lt. Col. Chris Baker, 82nd Training Wing Judge Advocate
/ Published October 02, 2020
In the midst of this political season, service members and Department of Defense personnel should be aware of behaviors on social media to avoid.
Here are a list of some Do’s and Do Not’s for social media as they relate political activities:
- Register to vote and vote.
- Encourage others to exercise their voting rights.
- Make personal monetary donations.
- Express personal views. This is the same as writing a letter to the editor; however, do not engage in any political partisan activity.
- Include a disclaimer if you are identifiable as a military member.
- “Friend,” “like” or “follow” the Facebook page or Twitter account of a political party or partisan candidate, campaign or group. But refrain from engaging in political activities with respect to partisan political entities’ accounts that would constitute political activity.
- Forward all inquiries from political campaign organizations to a public affairs officer for awareness and appropriate action.
- Like, share, or retweet a post that solicits political contributions, including invitations to fundraising events
- Post or tweet a message that solicits political contributions or invites people to a fundraising event
- Use an alias on social media to solicit a political contribution for a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group
- Use a social media account designated for official purposes to post or share messages directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group
- Engage in political activity on a personal social media account if you use such an account for official purposes or post in your official capacity
- Send to subordinates, or a subset of friends that includes subordinates, any message that is directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group
- Use your official title or position when posting messages directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group
Partisan political activity is defined as activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign group or cause.
A political campaign or election begins when a candidate makes a formal announcement that he/she seeks to be elected to a federal, state or local political office or when an individual files for candidacy with the Federal Election Commission or equivalent state or local regulatory office. A political campaign or election does not end until one week after the conclusion of the relevant election.
For a complete list of permissible and prohibited activities, please refer to DOD Directive 1344.10, “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces,” or AFI 51-508, Political Activities, Free Speech and Freedom of Association of Air Force Personnel, for guidance for military members.
Additionally, the following guides and pamphlets provides information on how the Hatch Act applies to social media and guidance for military and civilian employees on political activities
For voting assistance information, visit http://www.FVAP.gov.