Press Club

Morning Poll: Sidewalk Signature Collectors

If you frequent Clarendon or other highly-populated Arlington neighborhoods, you’ve likely encountered them: flourescent-vest-wearing young people stopping passersby to solicit support for the environment, civil liberties, or other causes and organizations.

They’re usually friendly, though persistent, working in teams to ensure no one walks by without a pitch. Even intensely looking down at one’s phone and/or wearing headphones does not seem to discourage many from approaching as you walk down the sidewalk gauntlet.

While a majority of Arlington residents may support their causes, the sidewalk signature collectors are seen by some as an annoyance, an obstacle to going about one’s daily business. If you walk around Clarendon often — say, picking up lunch or getting coffee or going to the bank — the forced brush-off routine can get tiresome when practiced multiple times per week.

Canvassing and signature solicitation appears to be perfectly legal in Arlington. One could argue that it’s an example of democracy in action. But should additional restrictions be imposed?

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