State Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh's House Bill 1134 would prohibit homeowners associations from barring political candidates who wish to campaign in every neighborhood in their district. This should be an easy one.
In Northwest Indiana, Lakes of the Four Seasons stands as a prime example of a gated community whose homeowners association would try to prohibit candidates from campaigning door to door.
But gated communities shouldn't shut out civic engagement.
Prohibiting candidates from campaigning in a neighborhood might seem like protecting the residents from solicitors, but these aren't individuals selling vacuum cleaners or asphalt driveways. These are people seeking to represent the homeowners in their government.
"Homeowners associations have gone a little too far in prohibiting elected officials from campaigning in their areas and are keeping people from being able to make informed decisions at the polls," said VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point. "We really should leave it up to the citizens as to whether or not they want to answer their door."
Homeowners should welcome candidates to their door if for no other reason than to gauge the candidates' accessibility to the public. But it's also a good way to learn what the candidates have to offer. Grill them on issues important to you. See how they react. Hold them to their promises.
If VanDenburgh's legislation is successful, she would gain valuable access to communities like Lakes of the Four Seasons that currently bar all solicitors, including political candidates. But her opponents would gain access, too.
All residents, regardless of where they live, should be free to meet their elected officials, along with opponents, face to face.
Homeowners should not be prohibited by their neighbors from opening their doors to people who wish to represent them in government.