Dropping something off in a mailbox or electronic communication is non-intrusive. Door-knocks have their place IF the candidate is doing it him or herself because it provides face - to - face contact. I have not asked any of my volunteers to door-knock for me since I don't see what the advantage is over a less disruptive literature drop. There have been some cases when a volunteer has door-knocked for me because the homeowner's property was prime for a sign and in the absence of signs for other campaigns, or in the presence of signs for multiple, competing campaigns, perhaps the person would be interested in a Wildrose Alliance sign and could therefore be asked in person. But those have been very limited situations.
I do door-knock myself BUT prefer to meet people in their driveways or on the street. I am also reluctant to door-knock if there is a flicker around the living room curtains that suggests a person is enjoying an evening in front of the TV. I am more likely to door-knock when there is something that suggests a brochure would not be welcome (without first asking politely) like a "no flyers! save a tree!" sticker on the mailbox. After all, it does save (a small fraction of) a tree if all a voter would like to know about me can be provided orally or visually (e.g. "I vote NDP [and your "Wildrose Alliance" tag suggests you are not the NDP candidate]." No problem, sir, sorry for the interruption, bye!) Finally, I don't door-knock homes that appear to have requested a lawn sign from another campaign. Not only am I likely wasting my time with such a decided voter, I am interrupting them to waste their time too!
The right of voters to determine their level of involvement in politics means politicians should be accommodating of their right to be let alone. When contact is made, it should only be to better inform the voter and particularly with the information that the voter requests. Multiple times I have dropped a brochure to be called later that evening for a 20 minute discussion. The difference there is that my initial contact was nonintrusive and the decision to follow-up was the voter's decision, not mine.
At the moment, my riding is getting one of the worst reputations for disrespecting this.
From the Edmonton Sun:
Roy Buckingham, 56, said in the days leading up to Thursday's leadership debate, he received phone calls on behalf of the Progressive Conservative, New Democrat and Liberal candidates in his riding of Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview.
The undecided voter asked each caller what their candidate's stance was on the two issues he is most concerned with - health-care premiums and oil royalties - and found that none could answer his questions.
"They didn't know anything. They just make phone calls," he said.
When pushed, the caller representing Liberal candidate Dawit Isaac admitted he didn't know anything about the campaign because he lived in Ontario.
Since I'm on the subject of appropriate campaigning, I'll regale you with two more anecdotes. Today I ran into P"C" campaign workers dropping "Sorry I missed you, Tony" cards into mailboxes. Change "Tony" to "Tony's campaign worker" and you'll be telling it like it is! Earlier this week, I called the Emmanuel Home (for seniors) and asked if I could come by some time to meet the residents. "You should contact the Recreation Director instead of just dropping in". Fine. How about Saturday? "The Recreation Director is not available Saturday." Anytime Friday will do. "The Premier is going to be here Friday". I could come before or after the Premier, whatever you think is more appropriate. "Uh... leave a message with the Rec Director and maybe she can do something for you." I left a message with my contact info and have never been contacted. Meanwhile, the RO (who, by the way, is a P"C" party man by his own account, which may go to some length in explaining why he not only refuses to give me official donation receipts and maps that taxpayers have already paid for and the other candidates already have but refuses to pass on to Elections Alberta this candidate's feedback that that particular decision should perhaps be reconsidered next election) is sending a mobile poll into the Emmanuel Home on Monday, the very place that apparently only the Premier can enter.
Now cue these gentlemen to provide their rebuttal! You, dear reader, are just hearing my side of the story! Remember, the comment thread is open to all!