RESCHEDULED: IPR Blogtalk today (Monday): Brian Bittner, Andy Jacobs on Maryland ballot access petitioning and arrest

UPDATE: I screwed up last week and scheduled the show for 15 minutes, and Andy also was not on the call. This time I have made sure that we will have long enough for the show. It will be on today (Monday) at 8 PM Eastern time, and I will also try to make sure everyone is on this time. The call number below is still correct, but the new URL for the show is here. – Paulie

IPR blogtalk will be on tomorrow (Wednesday) at 8 PM Eastern (7 PM Central) with Brian Bittner, Andy Jacobs and myself, plus possibly other people to be announced later. If you would like to join us the call in number is (646) 200-0264 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (646) 200-0264      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (646) 200-0264      end_of_the_skype_highlighting and you can listen online at

We’ll discuss ballot access barriers to alternative parties getting on the ballot in Maryland and illegal harassment of petitioners getting signatures to meet these onerous requirements on public property. Andy Jacobs is a petitioner who was arrested outside a library in Maryland after being told to leave and then saying he wanted record the police officers issuing this illegal order. Brian Bittner is the state chair of the Green Party of Maryland.

For background see:


Maryland Greens and Libertarians hand in signatures; petitioners harassed, one arrested at public library

Ballot Access News:

Veteran Petitioner Andy Jacobs Arrested for Petitioning Outside Public Library in Maryland

Baltimore Sun:

Green Party says library incident highlights petition drive concerns

Green Party Watch:

Personal account of ballot access petitioning and harassment in public places in Maryland

Maryland GP petitioner arrested (this was based on the Baltimore Sun report and other early reports that did not mention that Andy was petitioning for the Libertarian Party as well).

On The Wilder Side:

Veteran third party petitioner pepper-sprayed and arrested in Maryland

24 thoughts on “RESCHEDULED: IPR Blogtalk today (Monday): Brian Bittner, Andy Jacobs on Maryland ballot access petitioning and arrest

  1. paulie Post author

    Thanks Damon, good article!

    Two small nits:

    1) I have pretty much dropped the “cannoli” part of my nom de plume, as too many people were wrongly assuming it is my actual last name. It’s just paulie now. Cannoli still appears in my (mostly abandoned) blog URL and as my name on facebook, but I don’t actively use it anymore.

    2) On December 18th, a professional petition circulator by the name of Andy Jacobs was collecting signatures for the ballot access drives of the state’s Libertarian and Green parties outside a public library in Ellicott City, Maryland. Following a dispute with a library employee who had ordered Mr. Jacobs to move his operation farther away from the library entrance, the library employee called police. After the officers arrived, the library employee, Stacey Freedman, ordered Jacobs to leave the grounds, stating that he did not have permission to circulate his petitions there.

    In fact, as she had with me, Ms. Freedman ordered Andy to leave the grounds completely, not just move further away from the door, before the police arrived. I chose to comply with her unreasonable demand, under protest. Andy chose to take it to the next level.

    The officers threatened Jacobs with arrest if he did not follow the order, at which point Jacobs stated that he would leave after recording the conversation and the order on his cell phone.

    Actually, Andy says that they never threatened him with arrest at all. They simply went ahead and did it.

    So, sequence events:

    1. Cops say he has to leave.

    2. He says OK, but let me record you saying that so I can show it to an attorney.

    3. They grab his phone, pepper spray him, and cuff and stuff him into the back of the patrol vehicle.

  2. d.eris

    Thanks for the corrections paulie. It was kind of difficult to piece together exactly what happened just from the reports here and at the Baltimore Sun.

  3. paulie Post author

    Show starts in a few minutes . If you would like to join us the call in number is (646) 200-0264 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (646) 200-0264 end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (646) 200-0264 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (646) 200-0264 end_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting and you can listen online at

  4. paulie Post author

    Show ended early due to some kind of setting in blogtalk that I forgot to set it for additional time, and apparently the default is 15 minutes. We’ll reschedule for next week.

  5. Andy

    I’d like to point out that petition circulators getting arrested is – unfortunately – an all to common thing. Everyone I know who has done a lot of petition signature gathering has had numerous encounters with the police, and a disturbingly high percentage of petition circulators have been arrested for engaging in a right which is enumerated in the 1st amendment to the Constitution (as well as in every state constitution).

    I’ve gathered signatures on petitions for over 10 years and this was the first time that I ever got arrested. I have had numerous police confrontations though, and in all previous cases I either was able to prevail with the police by pointing out what the law is or I left to avoid being arrested.

    I think what obviously lead to me getting arrested in this situation was that I tried to record the police giving me an illegal command. The police did not want a record of them giving me an illegal command and so that’s why I was grabbed without warning and maced.

    There is a very real assult on free speech rights in this country. This kind of rights violation happens on a pretty regular basis although it does not usually get reported on by any kind of media. This kind of harrassment of petition circulators is a major impediment to ballot access.

  6. Bruce Cohen

    I just wanted to listen only.

    Can’t get it on the web, so I wanted phone.

    I haven’t heard any of the show yet.
    So how can I comment?

  7. Bruce Cohen

    I didn’t hit the one any of the time.

    That’s what made me wonder why you kept trying to put me on.

  8. paulie Post author

    Show’s done.

    Anyone who wants to listen can listen to the recording at

    Andy and obviously myself both read IPR regularly, so if anyone listens and has comments or questions about any of the things discussed please post them here.

    I’m not sure whether or not Brian Bittner reads IPR, if anyone has questions for him I can email him.

  9. NewFederalist

    “Miss what?”

    House… one of the most popular shows on television. About a libertarian doctor with ultra-progressive and reactionary overtones who is the biggest a$$hole in the universe who is always right. It’s radical, dude!

  10. paulie Post author

    Seriously? That’s so 20th century.

    We have things like Tivo and TV shows online nowadays. And even if your internet is too slow and you don’t have a TV recording device, with all the channels they have now, you don’t have to wait long before they show it again on one channel or another.

    Of course, you can listen to this show at any time as well (like right now would be awesome!…or even later) and text comment, and you can even get two of the three people on the show to text-comment back on here. The only thing you can’t do any more is call in to the show, since it’s over.

    But, hey, I understand that priorities are priorities, and you couldn’t very well do a walk on on the set of House, being broadcast live as it was, and talk to us on the radio show at the same time. No hard feelings, honest 🙂

  11. paulie Post author

    I have a friend who is… behind the times… on technology.

    I have sometimes joked that we should make a rotary cell phone for him.

    Anyway, seriously, I hope someone listens to the show and provides some feedback. It’s more fun doing these things if I get the sense someone actually hears them. So far, I know Bruce Cohen listened to at least part of it, but that’s about all I know.

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