No good deed goes unpunished. I recently received a telephone call from a voter who was troubled that someone from my campaign had violated his neighborhood association’s rules prohibiting solicitation by leaving a campaign flier at his door. His concern that criminals could “case the neighborhood” under the guise of a salesman or volunteer is noted, and I appreciate his concern about the safety of his community.
It is important to note there was no violation. Door-to-door political activities are protected speech under the First Amendment – a ruling made clear by the Supreme Court more than 70 years ago. More to the point, I assured the caller that there was no danger to the neighborhood because I had personally left the flier at his door. I have made the commitment to meet the thousands of voters in the 84th District and have been walking neighborhoods like his for months. Most voters appreciate these visits because they simply have never had the opportunity to meet their legislator.
Ultimately the caller expressed his support for my campaign. I hope the other thousands of constituents will understand the distinction between a candidate personally leaving some material behind versus hiring some workers or volunteers to canvass neighborhoods with material about their candidate. A world of email, junk mail and social media sometimes clouds our judgment about political activity. However, our framers appreciated, indeed fought for, the right to have representatives “of the people.” I aim to meet the people I hope to serve.