The early voting period in North Carolina begins on Thursday, October 15. For information on voting sites and hours in Guilford County, including the early voting site at the Kaplan Center for Wellness, visit the Guilford County Board of Elections website.
As we enter the last weeks of the fall 2020 election season, please take into consideration the following reminders. The University fully supports the rights that each of us has as a private citizen to participate in the political process. As a University employee, though, it is important to be aware that public resources may not be used in support of, or in opposition to, partisan political campaigns. The UNC System Office has published a comprehensive memo that addresses these issues in detail. For quick reference, we have highlighted sections of the memo below that answer several frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, please contact Nikki Baker at (336) 334-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- No employee may engage in political activity while on duty. Political activity includes any action directed toward the success or failure of a candidate, political party, or partisan political group. This includes campaigning and/or taking an active part in managing a campaign. N.C.G.S. §126-13; State Human Resources Policy (Section 3, page 26, and page 35); Section 300.5.1 of the UNC Policy Manual.
- Voting is not allowed as work time. Most polling stations are open extended hours and should allow most employees to vote before or after work. Additionally, employees have other options, such as early voting or voting during their scheduled meal break. Management may allow employees to use available vacation/bonus leave or comp time for hours missed during the employee’s regular work schedule for voting purposes. Management, to the extent business operations allow, may provide employees a flexible work schedule so that they can make up the missed time within the same work week. State Human Resources Policy (Section 5, page 17).
- Community Service Leave may be used only for working inside a polling facility in a non-partisan, unpaid role, such as assisting voters with the voting process. If an employee is receiving any payment for such activities or is standing outside the polling facility to distribute candidate information, then vacation, bonus leave, or available comp time must be used. N.C.G.S. §126-13; State Human Resources Policy (Section 5, pages 17, and 18.1).
UPDATE: The North Carolina Office of State Human Resources has recently provided an exception to Community Service Leave to allow up to three days (24 hours) of paid leave for state employees to become election workers during the 2020 election cycle due to the impacts of COVID-19. Use of this leave requires demonstrated need of volunteers from the County Board of Elections where the employee resides, supervisory approval, and proof of time served. More information is available at their FAQ page: https://oshr.nc.gov/community-service-leave-poll-workers-faqs.
- In general, no employee may use their position to secure support for, or to oppose, any candidate or issue in an election involving candidates for office or party nominations. In addition, no individual or group may use state or University funds, services (including mail and email service), supplies (including letterhead and postage), equipment (including telephones, computers, photocopiers, and fax machines), vehicles, or other University property to secure support for, or to oppose, any person or issue in any election. This prohibition applies equally to University faculty, staff, students, and to individuals external to the University. N.C.G.S. §126-13; Section 300.5.1 of the UNC Policy Manual.
Students who have questions about the voting process should be directed to the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement with the Division of Student Affairs. They are able to address the particular details that uniquely apply to students’ situations.