Pooches for Peace, Do Dah Day and Ballot Access

Doo Dah Day 11.jpg

We had a lot of fun in Birmingham yesterday at the annual Do Dah Day celebration. The day long dog-themed festival is a really cool event – complete with a parade, vendors, live music and food. The neatest thing about the Do Dah Day Festival is that it’s held in two neighboring parks and everyone brings their pooches.

The headquarters of the Libertarian Party of Alabama is on the edge of one of the two parks and so many people bring their canines to this pedestrian friendly area it provides a really ideal location for voter outreach. Our trick is to align a long series of water dishes in the lawn by the sidewalk. We place an OPH table or (in this case) a candidate/ballot access table in the shade. When the dogs naturally stop to get a drink of water, we get to speak to the passersby.

Doo Dah Day 4.jpgAs we’re in the middle of a ballot access drive, we obviously used this collect signatures, but we were able to do some outreach, as well. That Libertarians require 43,000 signatures to get on the ballot while the Republicans and Democrats don’t is totally unjust. The Nall campaign is not disclosing the amount of signatures collected at this event.

The parade was even cooler and we rocked! There are two primary Republican candidates for governor in Alabama. Other than a very few signs, there was little GOP campaign presence. I saw what may have been one mutilated Roy Moore sign. It looked like it had the word “Roy” on it, at least. The only signs I saw supporting Governor Riley were carried by a couple of parade spectators. Of course, this was a cool event with cool people (and doggies), so the Republicans probably didn’t feel very welcome.

On the Democratic side of the governor’s race, Lt. Governor Lucy Baxley had a fair campaign sign presence, but we were able to match (and at Caldwell Park better) her performance — which is not too bad for any LP campaign. Someone entered a truck in the parade which had some of her signs on it, but it didn’t look all that impressive. I didn’t see any Don Seigelman vehicles or signs.

Our car (the ‘stang) carried us through its second Birmingham parade. This time, Loretta Nall was the passenger of honor. Mark Bodenhausen drove, most of the time with his dog Piddles in his lap. Deb (my wonderful wife) had the passenger seat, while I sat in the back with the cool rays holding a sign and passing out campaign literature.

We did see Siegelman standing on the side of the road with the other parade spectators. The state news has been filled with his local campaign fundraising problems, but to see him without the usual throng of supporters, no signs, and no vehicle entered into the race was pretty funny. Siegelman yelled something like “Keep working hard, Loretta,” to which she responded, “Don’t worry Don, I will.”

Bodenhausen suggested a few seconds too late that we should have asked Don if he needed a lift. Poor guy looked like he needed one. Perhaps because of the enormous ballot access barrier for third parties in Alabama, it was an interesting turn of events to be the coolest campaign at a fairly large event.

Lauren Havens took the pictures, more of which are available 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. Y’all did good. Real good. Send the pics to LP News along with the write up.
    Real Good. Be proud.

  2. This is a prime perfect example of what LPers need to be doing consistently in every race. Of course, it’s even better when you don’t have to fight for ballot access at the same time. Being in the LP should be the fun and “in” thing to do.

  3. There is one good thing that you are getting out of this ballot access drive and that is name recognition and meeting voters. My guess is that if you didn’t have to go to as much trouble getting ballot access you would not be meeting as many people, not have as many activists working beside you and would not be getting as much name recognition as you are now.

    If Loretta ends up getting enough votes to put her on the ballot it may backfire for the Republicrats because she will have gotten in front of a lot of potential voters.

  4. 15 days left to get the Nall Y’all signatures needed.
    that’s around 250 a day assuming you already have some sigs,
    meaning you need a minimum of ten people a day getting a minimum of 25 sigs a day each
    which is about 2 or 3 hours work per person.
    Best to go to very poor neighborhoods where people are most concerned about overcrowding in prisons,
    college kids don’t give a F____ about prison conditions ’cause daddy will buy them out.
    Go to poor neighborhoods,
    be certain to tell them where to register to vote and to sign the petition after they vote,
    it is worth the wait,
    watch them walk down the street,
    go into the place to register,
    and come back out,
    and walk back up to you and sign the petition,
    you’ll both feel good.

  5. Cris Ericson, good idea. I’ve spent a lot of time in the hood. I can tell you right now that if you threw a BBQ in the hood and had those petitions there, you’d be a roaring success. All you’d have to do is walk down to the corner store and tell people and ask them to spread the word. Word of mouth spreads like wildfire there. If you do that, I’m telling you right now that it would boggle your freaking mind how many people would show up. The most powerful word in marketing is still “FREE”, especially in the hood.