Windham, NH- A campaign volunteer who was passing through a Windham neighborhood handing out campaign literature was stopped by police and told to “register” before continuing, according to New Hampshire news station WMUR-TV.
Glori Foster, a volunteer working for the campaign of Republican Congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia, told WMUR that she had been knocking on neighborhood doors on behalf of Garcia when she was stopped by a Windham police officer.
Foster said that the officer asked her what she was doing, and she had told him she was doing volunteer work for a political campaign. Foster says he asked “did you tell the police department about that, that you’ll be in the area?” Foster told the officer she hadn’t and asked if that was a policy. She said the officer told her it was.
Foster left the neighborhood to avoid further conflict, but later told a friend, former state representative David Bates (R-Windham), about what had happened.
Bates made contact with the Secretary of State’s Office and found there is no such policy in place where campaign volunteers must register with the police.
“This goes against not only free speech but also freedom of association. And it’s terribly unsettling that police would ask somebody to effectively go register with the police in order to go exercise those fundamental rights,” Bates said.
“The Windham Police Department does not require solicitors or campaign workers to ever register with the police department,” said Windham Police Captain Michael Caron.
Caron could not give an explanation as to why one of his officers would cite a policy that doesn’t exist, but said the police department would look into finding the identity of the officer who gave Foster that information and “see what the information was or if there was confusion between the two parties.”
The department stated that if Foster had been told to register with the police, she should not have been instructed to do so.