What you can and can't when you're Hatched

In the most recent edition of the OCSEA magazine, we told the story of  Brant Reynolds, a union steward and Correction officer who is taking on a new challenge in local politics. Reynolds was recently appointed to an open village council seat in the village of Powhatan Point in southeastern Ohio. He plans to run for the seat officially in November.

"I’m just trying to make this community better," said Reynolds.

What members can and can't do to get involved in political activities is a question OCSEA receives a lot. Unfortunately in Ohio, the Little Hatch Act restricts the activity of classified public employees to participate in partisan political activities. The intention of the law is to prevent public officials from making promises of employment or promotion due to a person’s political party or affiliation.

However, there are political activities that classified public employees CAN participate in such as running for non-partisan local office and talking to union co-workers about a candidate or issue. And, it's important to note that classified public employees CAN engage in some partisan political activities as long as they are member-to-member.

Download the quick guide to political participation.

What you can (and can’t) do under the Little Hatch Act.

You can:

  • Run for a non-partisan office at the local level.
  • Engage in member-to-member communication regarding a political candidate, including phone banks and labor walks.
  • Campaign for an issue by going door-to-door.
  • Urge people to register to vote or to vote early.
  • Wear a button to work (or outside work) supporting an issue or a candidate (See your agency’s dress code).
  • Place candidate bumper stickers on your car.
  • Place signs in your yard supporting a candidate.
  • Donate to a legislator or statewide candidate (not your boss) and receive a tax credit of $50 for individuals or $100 for joint filers.
  • Fully participate upon retirement.

You can't:

  • Run for partisan political office.
  • Participate in “non labor-to-labor” phone banks and door-to-door canvassing.
  • Donate to a candidate’s campaign or do fundraising if you work for the candidate (e.g., Attorney General).
  • Do literature drops at the workplace in support of a candidate.
  • Wear a t-shirt at work endorsing a candidate.
  • Circulate a petition to get a candidate on the ballot.