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Around The Fleet

Election Season Do's and Don'ts

5 things every Sailor should know

As service members and representatives of the U.S. Navy it is important to understand what is appropriate behavior during election season. The following guidelines are here to help you actively participate in the political process in a way that adheres to Navy core values.

1. By all means, rock your vote. DoD encourages all service members and federal civilian employees to register and vote. The Federal Voting Assistance Program is in place to ensure everyone has the resources, time and ability to do their civic duty. Voting assistance officers at every level of command are trained and equipped to provide voting assistance.

2. As representatives of the U.S. Navy and DoD, the goal is to avoid the appearance that the military is sponsoring a specific candidate, party, campaign or cause.

3. To that end, active duty members may NOT engage in ANY partisan political activity. This includes: campaigning for a candidate, soliciting contributions, marching in a party or candidate parade and wearing a military uniform to a party or candidate event. This goes for online too. Active duty members may NOT post or make direct links to a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group, or cause because such activity is the equivalent of distributing literature on behalf of those entities or individuals, which is prohibited.

4. It's ok to like the Facebook page, or follow the Twitter account of a political party or candidate, campaign, group, or cause as long as the service member refrains from engaging in activities that would constitute political activity such as suggesting that others like, friend, or follow the political party, political candidate, campaign, group, or cause, or forwarding an invitation or solicitation from said entities to others.

5. It is also ok for an active duty member to express his or her own personal views on public issues or political candidates on social media (Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs, etc.) as long as it's clear that the views expressed are those of the individual only. If an individual is identified on a social media site as an active duty member, posts like this should clearly and prominently state that the views expressed are those of the individual, not that of the Navy or DoD at large.

It's your right to vote and participate in the political process. But do so responsibly, in a manner that preserves the integrity of the U.S. Navy to serve our elected leaders. Use common sense and when in doubt consult NAVADMIN 055/16 or check with your chain of command.