BELMAR— The rollout of the borough’s new “No Knock” program, which allows residents to register their homes as being off limits to door-to-door solicitation, is being criticized by a Belmar Democratic Party leader, who says it fails to make clear that political activity is exempted from such exclusion.
Speaking during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s borough council meeting, Maria Rondinaro, the party’s municipal chair, said, “We are in the middle of an election season and it feels suspect with the timing that we would be giving stickers that say no knocking at the time of our election … it does seem like we are suppressing voting and communication with our residents.”
A message sent by the borough through the CodeRED mobile alert system on Tuesday said that the mayor and council “have implemented a no knock registry for residents who do not wish to have solicitors/peddlers knock on their doors” and invited them to register on the borough website. A decal would then be given to show that a property is on the registry. The alert was set to expire on Oct. 6.
Ms. Rondinaro said that the announcement did not make it clear that political and religious activity is not included in a registry. In a small borough like Belmar, she said, knocking on doors is essential to local candidates to meet the electorate, “you walk, you win,” she said.
Responding to her comments, Mayor Mark Walsifer, a Republican, said that he had not seen the CodeRED message before it went out and added that the borough will correct the omission.
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