Congress is battling over changing the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from taking part in political campaigns and running for elective office. Washington Post Staff writer Louise A. Reid and staff photographer Linda Wheeler asked persons in Lafayette Park if they thought the law should be changed.

Edward Cousin, 28, a mobile unit assistant who lives on Constitution Avenue NE: "How can you overlook the right of a growing number of people? Congress should pass legislation to give the employees those rights."

Morris L. Jackson, 21, an educator who resides on N Street NW: "I think they should have the right to run for office. It's the First Amendment. People should have the right to exercise their freedom. Just because they happen to be employed by the federal government, that should not exclude them."

Patricia Kope, 34, a missionary worker who resides near 16th Street NW: "They should have to right to do it. They may have an opportunity to have more effect as far as straightening out things in the government that aren't right. Everybody should have the opportunity to run for office or to speak out for their beliefs."

Carolyn Oliver, 29 a bill collector who lives on 9th St. SE: "I think federal employees should be allowed to take part in political campaigns and run for office. Everybody should have their own opinion about anything. I don't see why they can't run. They're going to do what they want anyway."

Mark Rosen, 31, a lawyer who lives on 0 St. NW: "Yes. Everybody should have the right to engage in politics. It's fundamental right. You can build in protection. But right now, it's a flat prohibition."

JeAnn Row, a secretary for the federal government who resides on K St. NW: "I don't think they should run for office. I think there should be certain limitations as to how far they get involved in politics. But I do think there should be some opportunities to get involved. They are taxpayers and U.S. citizens. Where to draw the line is the question."

Laura Triest, 23, a receptionist who lives on Reservoir Road NW: "That would most likely mean more money out of the federal pocket. In any case, no, in capital letters. But I'm not a federal employee, so I haven't considered it to any great extent."