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ACLU to Police: Registration Drives Are Allowed

Anita Kumar

The ACLU of Virginia has sent letters to all 185 police chiefs in Virginia asking them to educate their emplyees on the right of individuals to engage in door-to-door voter registration drives.

The letters were prompted by recent complaints from people going door-to-door who were told by police or other officials that their actions violated a local ordinance or policy. ACLU officials say they are prepared to provide legal assistance to any person whose rights are violated.

"The right to go door to door to register voters, to canvass for candidates or to promote one's religious beliefs is deeply ingrained in the American landscape, both legally and culturally," ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis said. "Thankfully, the Supreme Court has struck down every local ordinance that attempts to interfere with this basic First Amendment right."

The ACLU's letter cites a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that political and religious canvassers could not be required to obtain a permit or even give notice before going door to door with their message.

Democrats and Republicans are rushing to register thousands of new voters in Virginia before the Oct. 6 deadline.

By Anita Kumar  |  September 25, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2008/President  
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Comments

For 5 straight weeks, I have had people with Obama stickers bang on my front door every Sunday. I have been polite so far in telling them to leave. Then the phone calls started. Twice on a Sunday and Monday I have received Obama phone calls. I am putting the Obama people on notice. If you step foot on my property one more time I will call the police and have you arrested for trespassing...and there is nothing the ACLU can do to block MY rights this time. ACLU...American Criminal Liberties Union.

Posted by: NoMore | September 25, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

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