On the Air: Alabama Police Intimidation Issue

I just got off the air on Alabama’s major talk radio program about our ballot access petitioners being intimidated by the police last week while trying to collect signatures for Loretta Nall’s campaign in Alabama. Hosts Russ and Dee Fine were absolutely livid that University of Alabama-Birmingham police interfered with our obvious First Amendment rights. I had a power outage this morning, so I missed some of the program before I went on the air, but all but one of the callers I heard were equally upset. As an example, the caller right before I went on the air was calling “them” Nazis.

I’ve known Russ and Dee for some time. While we certainly don’t agree on all of their political issues, we’ve worked together on quite a few common causes over the years. Russ’s office is right down the street from where the incident occurred, and he could easily visualize exactly which spot in the street the police told our petitioners to collect signatures at.

It’s virtually impossible to collect all the signatures required to get on the ballot in Alabama. As my wife describes it, it’s like having to run 26 miles just to get to the marathon. With this new harassment restriction hanging over our heads, it’s like having to make that run wearing leg irons.

If you are from Alabama and don’t support Nall’s campaign, your rights are still being violated by these egregious ballot access laws and police intimidation tactics. In this case, they are taking away your right to vote against the Libertarian candidate. No matter how you feel about Nall, please download the ballot access petition form, fill it out (and get five of your friends to do so, as well), and mail it to 2330 Highland Ave., B’ham, AL, 35205.

If you have a blog with Alabama readers, please give us a link.

If you don’t live in Alabama but believe that all candidates should have the same requirements to get on the ballot, you can still help. We need to raise an awful lot of money between now and June 6, and you can help so much just by clicking here.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. In Ohio the Peirce/Noble campaign met the signature requirement by trning in over 13,300 signatures. 5,000 signatures are required for independent candidates – but only 1,000 are required for GOP and Dem candidates.

    The GOP and Dems each have about 2 million members in Ohio, the LP of Ohio has about 700, so that makes the signature requirement even more imbalanced.

    In the Cleveland area, several of our petitioners were told to leave college campuses and other public places by police. I was told that I couldn’t petition in the Columbus, OH airport (owned by the city).

    I was told that I would have to schedule an appointment and get approval from the airport attourney so that I could stand in a “free speech zone”, to quote the attourney “just like the PETA chicken”.

    I sympathize with Nall’s petitioners and wish them the best of luck. If they stick with it, hopefully they’ll make it as we did.

  2. As a person who has worked on numerous petitions all over the country, I have been harrassed and had my rights violated by “authorities” on many occassions. Here’s an idea that I’ve had to combat these flagrant violations of our 1st amendment rights to free speech and to petition and that is the creation of a National Right To Petition Association. This would be like the ACLU but for petition related law suits only. If enough money could be raised the organization could have law suits going across the country.

  3. Not being from Alabama, I’m not familiar with Russ and Dee. I’m going to guess that they’re a liberal pair; am I correct?

  4. UA, they are very conservative (fiscally and socially). We worked well together on issues like tax referenda. They are supporting Roy Moore for the governor’s race here. If (likely) Moore loses the GOP primary, I’m not sure who they will support.

  5. Well, that’s actually good to hear, Mr. Gordon. Far too often, the “right” embrace state power.

  6. Stephen, they will support the GOP candidate. It doesn’t matter who they put up. Conservatives are dumb. Plain and simple. They will always pull the lever for the GOP candidate, unconditionally. Even if the platform was that nukes would be dropped on their hometown – hell then they’d throw their backs out they’d pull the lever so hard because to do so would requiire the courage, tenacity and resolve that God imbued only Republicans with.

  7. I think it is safe to say, from listening to Russ and Dee Fine almost daily, that they will NOT vote for Bob Riley if he should win the primary.

  8. DD,

    I worked pretty closely with Russ and Dee in fighting Riley’s tax plan. I doubt they could ever hold their nose and vote for him. I’m in agreement with Greg on this one.


    I miss R&D most days because I’m just not a morning person. :)

  9. John Slevin petitioning at a college campus?!?!?! On another forum he claimed that he never does that.

  10. Dunno about Slevin, but the “campus” is in the middle of town, it enormous and also encompasses living and retail areas. It’s literally dozens and dozens of city blocks…and growing each year, lately though eminent domain. You can’t drive though town or walk to a restaurant in the area without being “on campus”. The UAB police have nicer cars than the city. We had a petitioner beaten up there about six years ago by the campus cops.

  11. On another forum John Slevin claimed that one can’t get good validity on petition signatures at colleges so he avoids them. Of course not being able to get good validity at colleges is not true because a good petitioner can get good validity at a college if they do a good job screening the signers. However, this is besides the point as Slevin claimed that he doesn’t petition at colleges.

    Who was the petitioner that got beaten up by campus police at UAB 6 years ago? I haven’t heard about this.

    Harrassment of petitioners is a big problem in this country of which very few people are aware. We need a National Right To Petition Association to protect our 1st amendment right to petition.