In a social media post yesterday, Nicholas Sawark, who is gathering signatures for Libertarian Party Ballot Access in Alabama, shared the following about an initial success in enrolling the local police in assisting the Libertarian Party of Alabama in educating ill- (or mis-) informed government officials about his right, and the right of others to peacefully do so on a public sidewalk, outside a local post office.
“(Thursday 18 November 2021), I went out with another Alabama petitioner and we were told to leave the public sidewalk in front of the Mobile (Alabama) post office by at least three different officials.
“I politely explained to the officials that the sidewalk outside of the post office was a public forum protected by the First Amendment and that, while we would be polite and courteous and avoid impeding the traffic of customers coming in an out of the post office, we would not be leaving.
“They called the Mobile Police Department to ask them to remove us from the property.
“Two uniformed officers arrived and told us that they had received the complaint from the post office officials. I explained to them that we were staying on the sidewalk, not impeding traffic or harassing people, and explained that we had a First Amendment right to collect ballot access signatures on a public sidewalk.
“The officers then informed the post office people that we were entitled to collect signatures and went on their way.
. . .
“It’s a tough job to bring change and competition to a state that’s used to being run by one party for the benefit of the connected few. But it’s made a whole lot easier when you work together with good people.”
Nick also reports being offered the assistance of a supportive local attorney should he need it in the future.
Bottom line: Nick-1, (ill-informed, or mis-informed, or dishonest) government officials 0. Local police – a passing grade; with the possibility of moving up to a solid A should the department respond to IPR’s request for comment on, or records of, the incident.
IPR hopes Nick and the entire Alabama team both stay safe out there, and keep us updated.