Election Laws


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Section 17-1-4

Right of city, county and state employees to participate in political activities.

(a)(1) No person in the employment of any city, whether classified or unclassified, shall be denied the right to participate in city, county, or state political activities to the same extent as any other citizen of the State of Alabama, including endorsing candidates and contributing to campaigns of his or her choosing.

(2) No person in the employment of any county, whether classified or unclassified, shall be denied the right to participate in city, county, or state political activities to the same extent as any other citizen of the State of Alabama, including endorsing candidates and contributing to campaigns of his or her choosing.

(3) No person in the employment of the State of Alabama, whether classified or unclassified, shall be denied the right to participate in city, county, or state political activities to the same extent as any other citizen of the State of Alabama, including endorsing candidates and contributing to campaigns of his or her choosing. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any person within the classified service shall comply with Section 36-26-38.

(4) All persons in the employment of any city, county, or state shall have the right to join local political clubs and organizations, and state or national political parties.

(5) All persons in the employment of any city, county, or state shall have the right to publicly support issues of public welfare, circulate petitions calling for or in support of referendums, and contribute freely to those of his or her choosing.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 17-17-5, any employee of a county or a city, whether in the classified or unclassified service, who qualifies to seek a political office with the governmental entity with which he or she is employed, shall be required to take an unpaid leave of absence from his or her employment, or use accrued overtime leave, or use accrued vacation time with the county or city from the date he or she qualifies to run for office until the date on which the election results are certified or the employee is no longer a candidate or there are no other candidates on the ballot. For purposes of this subsection, the term "employing authority" means the county commission for county employees or the city council for city employees. Any employee who violates this subsection shall forfeit his or her employment position. In no event shall this subsection apply to elected officials.

(c) When off duty, out of uniform, and acting as a private citizen, no law enforcement officer, firefighter, or peace officer shall be prohibited from engaging in city, county, or state political activity or denied the right to refrain from engaging in political activity so long as there is compliance with this section.

(Acts 1978, No. 819, p. 1194; Code 1975, §11-80-6; Acts 1983, No. 83-497, p. 696, §2; Acts 1995, No. 95-378, p. 772, §1; §17-1-7; amended and renumbered by Act 2006-570, p. 1331, §2.)
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