In a bid for the big -- nearly 5 million -- federal worker/retiree vote, the Mondale-Ferraro ticket has issued a white paper stressing its support for better pay raises and retirement benefits for U.S. civil servants.

In a close election, the civil service vote could make the difference in a number of states -- 16 of them have more than 80,000 federal workers or retirees.

All feds are old enough to vote. Thanks to registration efforts of unions, a large percentage of them are eligible to help pick their boss this November.

The Democratic statement on the civil service stresses Mondale's support for beneficial employe legislation when he was a senator and as vice president. Ferraro -- through her work on the House Post Office-Civil Service Committee -- is well known, and well liked by the organized labor arm of the civil service.

Every major civil service and postal union is supporting the Democratic ticket, and most of them have raised record amounts of money this year for their political action committees. Virtually all of the PAC money has gone to either the national Democratic ticket, to Democratic incumbents in Congress or to Democrats seeking House or Senate seats.

The statement says that although Mondale represented a state with "relatively few" federal workers 28,600 as a senator he "voted his conscience on behalf of federal workers . . . and led many fights to expand health benefits and retirement, and to improve working conditions in government."

Reagan, the statement said, "made war on waste by dropping programmatic bombs on federal workers," tried to raise the retirement age and dismembered "a once model health insurance program . . . experts now rate as less attractive than the average health insurance program offered in the private sector."

The Mondale-Ferraro paper says that a second Reagan term could mean reduced civil service retirement benefits, loss of jobs to contractors and major changes in health insurance costs and coverage. Mondale, it says, will equalize federal and private sector pay, protect retirement programs and make the federal service "a career in which federal workers can hold their heads high and in which public pride and public workers are reunited."