Latest articles on Americans Elect since my last update:
Ballot Access News:
New Mexico Says Americans Elect Petition Has Enough Valid Signatures (this also qualifies them for 2014 in NM)
On February 2, Americans Elect submitted its Wyoming petition. It needed 3,740 signatures and submitted more than 8,000
Americans Elect’s web page now lets candidates file to compete for the organization’s presidential nomination, and also lets voters participate in an effort to draft a candidate
Americans Elect has started holding regional meetings for people who have signed up to be leaders and activists in the organization.
January 2012 BAN ballot access chart for AE (compiled late December 2011):
Already on: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont (total 15)
Finished petitioning but not yet certified: Maine, Missouri, New Mexico (NM since certified, see above)
In progress (valid signatures needed in parentheses): Alabama 72,000 (44,829), Georgia 69,000 (50,334), Idaho 23,000 (13,102), Maryland 8,100 (10,000), Montana 7,800 (5,000), Nebraska 5,700 (4,880), North Carolina 83,000 (85,379), North Dakota 2,000 (7,000), Oklahoma 28,000 (51,739), Oregon 35,000 (21,804), South Carolina 16,500 (10,000), South Dakota 2,500 (7,928), Tennessee 55,500 (40,042), Wyoming 8,000 (3,740; since then submitted, see above). Several of these states have since finished according to the subsequent BAN report, however Richard Winger has asked me not to publish that data before he puts it on the web. Email and print Ballot Access News subscribers have this info already.
Allowed to start, but had no signatures shown as of that report: Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin (WI since then started – see previous update). Out of these states several have since started. I can confirm from sources other than Ballot Access News that Iowa is one of them.
Not allowed to start: DC, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington State.
It’s a clever video, slickly produced. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s funny. It’s hilarious, even. But the next time Americans Elect produces a viral video criticizing the “Sh*t Politicians Say,” it might want to check its own …
Is Americans Elect a political party? Despite its protests to the contrary, the answer is a hearty Yes Indeed.
Personal Information the Americans Elect Corporation Requires from all Applicants interested in becoming State Committee Members or Electors
Full Legal Name
Social Security Number
Duration of Current Residency
Voter Registration Status
Name of Congressional Representative
Plans to Move, if Any
Reasons for Supporting Americans Elect
Justification of Fit
Plan for Voter Outreach
History of Personal Bankruptcy
History of Civil Suits
Personal Interviews with Friends, Acquaintances, Associates, Employers, Former Employers, Bankers, Landlords
Agreement “not to file or pursue any complaints, claims or legal actions against AE or any of its employees, representatives, or agents”.
Waiver of right to written notice of investigation
Personal Information the Americans Elect Corporation Shares regarding the People who are Funding its Operations
January 31, 2012: Americans Elect Political Director Darry Sragow is the latest in a long parade of Americans Elect corporate leaders to declare that Americans Elect is not a political party
Jim Cook summarizes what he considers the ten most important unanswered questions for Americans Elect:
1. What are the names of the people who have provided more than $1,000 worth of funding or other valued support to Americans Elect?
2. Americans Elect has indicated that it would pay back large-dollar funders from an anticipated large pool of small-dollar donations, “so that our candidates will answer only to the American people.” (source). The converse implication of this quote is that if the money is not paid back, candidates will not only be answering to the American people. The selection process for candidates to qualify for the Americans Elect ballot began on January 31, 2012. As of January 31, 2012, in an aggregate dollar amount, how much of these loans have been paid back? How much of these loans have not been paid back?
3. Americans Elect Political Director Darry Sragow has been quoted as saying (http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2011/12/21/americans_elect_no_molotov_cocktails_please.html) that “The folks running Americans Elect, they don’t know who the donors are.” But Americans Elect’s leadership also characterizes the motivations of the donors, that they “share a deep concern about our country’s broken political system, and a strong desire to do something about it. But they also know that it’s hard being among the first to publicly support something that challenges an entrenched and powerful establishment.” (Source) It is also publicly known that one of the largest multimillion funders of Americans Elect, Peter Ackerman, is its Chairman. Can Americans Elect explain these discrepancies?
4. I’ve always believed that the Golden Rule is a useful test for the ethics of a person or group.
Americans Elect: do you believe we should let the Republicans and Democrats take contributions of unlimited size without disclosure of the contributions’ source or amounts?
5. Without naming names, Americans Elect can disclose today:
a. The number of donations it has received, and the dollar amount of each donation.
b. The state or country of residence of each donor.
c. The principal occupation, if any of each donor.
d. The date of each donation.
e. The type of donation: loan, dollar donation, in-kind donation.
f. The amount of each loan that has been paid back by Americans Elect, as it said it would.
g. The number of the funders of Americans Elect who are also among the Americans Elect leadership.
Will Americans Elect please provide this information?
6. Americans Elect declares that “none of our funding comes from special interests or lobbyists.” But in his Sunday New York Times profile of Americans Elect, columnist Thomas Friedman describes “swank offices, financed with some serious hedge-fund money, a stone’s throw from the White House.”
Given recent special interest advocacy of hedge fund operators regarding the Dodd-Frank Act, these two statements appear to be inconsistent. Is Thomas Friedman’s statement regarding hedge fund contributions to Americans Elect inaccurate? Or has Americans Elect been accepting money from the operators of hedge funds?
7. Americans Elect declares publicly that “None of our funding comes from special interests or lobbyists.” But according to the limited list from the Americans Elect Piryx giving stream, one of Americans Elect’s funders is Jim Holbrook. Jim Holbrook is the current Chair of the Promotion Marketing Association, which in its online material describes its role as furthering the interests of the promotion marketing industry.
How does this funding source jibe with Americans Elect’s pledge that it doesn’t take special interest money? If this source of funding doesn’t count as a special interest source, what would?
8. On Americans Elect’s “About” page, Americans Elect “None of our funding comes from special interests or lobbyists.” But according to an incomplete list via the Americans Elect “giving stream” and Americans Elect disclosure documents from the time before it shifted to a no-disclosure, Peter Ackerman and Melvin Andrews and Kirk Rostron — all private capital investment executives — have provided funding the Americans Elect 501c4 corporation.
The private capital investment sector of the economy has been agitating politically in the last year for the government to make changes to the wording or interpretation of the Dodd-Frank Act to benefit their business’ bottom line. This means that private capital investment executives have special interests, by the dictionary definition of the term.
There appears to be a contradiction between Americans Elect’s claims and its practices. How would Americans Elect explain this contradiction?
9. According to Americans Elect Rule 126.96.36.199, there are two ways to qualify for a vote for Americans Elect ballot access. The first is to gain 10,000 “support” votes, and the second is to gain 50,000 “support” votes. Who gets into the easier 10,000 “support” vote tier? If you are a corporate executive leading 1,000 employees, you’re automatically in. If you’re a university president, you have to lead 4,000 students. And if you head up a labor union, you have to lead 100,000 union members. In the universe of political privilege that Americans Elect has constructed, a single employee is literally worth four students, and one employee is worth a hundred union members.
Why is that, Americans Elect?
On January 31 2012, Americans Elect opened up the qualifying round of voting in the first-ever online, proprietary, corporate-run presidential nomination. Starting that morning, Americans Elect delegates could visit this page to draft possible presidential contenders and cast votes in support of qualifying those draft contenders for the Americans Elect nomination. Under the rules in place when this round of drafting and voting began, political insiders had to nab 10,000 votes of support by April 3 2012 to qualify for the ballot, and political outsiders had to gain 50,000 votes of support.
But very quickly, a problem emerged. 24 hours later, on the morning of February 1 2012, only 404 votes of support had been registered for 37 presidential contenders. The top 5 contenders (Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Buddy Roemer, Mike Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders) had on average gained 55 votes of support apiece. Even Ron Paul, the most supported contender, had only gained 98 votes of support on Day 1. That’s far from the pace of over 159 votes/day needed for a contender to reach 10,000 votes by April 3. For political outsiders seeking to run a grassroots campaign, the needed 794 votes/day weren’t anywhere close to appearing.
And so, on February 1 2012, Americans Elect leadership met to pass revision to the ballot qualification process. Under the new rules proposed and passed February 1, presidential contenders would have until May 15, not April 3, to gather the threshold number of votes of support. These rule changes, made with the drafting process already underway, reduce the needed pace of supporting votes down to 95/day.