As Election Day draws closer, we wanted to send out a reminder of some basic rules about political and election activity using district resources. The law protects everyone’s right to vote, right to voice their opinions, and right to support candidates and initiatives. Community college districts have some restrictions and prohibitions on their involvement in political and election activities.
Districts cannot use district funds and resources to support or oppose any candidate or ballot measure. This means:
- Trustees may not use district resources, facilities, equipment, or supplies to campaign for or against candidates or ballot measures. The law prohibits this, even if a district recoups the cost.
- Trustees may not use district or college names, logos, or other insignia in a way that implies or suggest that the district is affiliated with, endorses, favors, supports, or opposes a candidate or ballot measure.
- Trustees may not mail campaign material from a district mailroom.
- Trustees may not use internal district mailboxes to distribute campaign materials expressing viewpoints for or against a candidate or ballot measure.
- Trustees may not use district phones, computers, laptops, or e-mail systems to distribute campaign materials that express viewpoints for or against a candidate or ballot measures.
Trustees may do all of the following:
- Provide information to the public about the possible effects of a ballot measure – in a manner that is fair, impartial, and consistent with the law and district policy – to aid the electorate in reaching an informed judgment.
- Endorse candidates and ballot measures, using their title in a way that does not suggest that the District is affiliated with, endorses, favors, supports, or opposes the candidate or ballot measure.
- Establish reasonable rules and regulations regarding officers and employees engaging in political activities on campus and during work hours.
- Make District forums available to all candidates or all sides of a ballot measure on an equitable basis.
- Volunteer to work for or against a candidate or ballot measure while off campus and outside of official Trustee duties.
- Encourage others to vote, as long as they do not encourage a vote in any particular way, either for or against a candidate or ballot measure, as a representative of a district.
The above was authored for the Community College League of California.