ELKO – Elko County Commissioners dropped their plan for an ordinance prohibiting door-to-door solicitations that could block COVID-19 vaccine surveys after Chief Civil Deputy District Attorney Rand Greenburg said it would be unconstitutional.
He said his research found that “door-to-door bans are generally held as unconstitutional,” and such a ban would be in violation of the First Amendment allowing free speech.
Commissioner Rex Steninger said he was disappointed with courts that have gone beyond interpreting the law. He said there should be free speech, but people shouldn’t have to listen to strangers coming to their doors.
“Since we can’t do an ordinance, we could do a political statement,” he said.
Chairman Jon Karr said he believes the public already knows the county opposes solicitations. The county has mentioned opposition to solicitations in earlier resolutions.
Elko City Council decided last month to keep an eye out for any ordinance the county would propose on door-to-door surveys before taking any action on a proposal.
City Attorney David Stanton told the council then that an ordinance against door-to-door surveys would likely be found unconstitutional.
Moves to protest door-to-door surveys came before the city and county in reaction to reports that the federal government would be visiting homes to find out if residents were vaccinated. Speakers worried about infringement on their privacy and patient rights.