Yesterday, we learned that Americans Elect had applied for permission from the state of Michigan to collect petition signatures to gain ballot access for the 2012 elections. Americans Elect’s overarching goal: to have its own candidates for President and Vice President placed on the 2012 ballot in all 50 states.
Today, the helpful folks at the Michigan Board of State Canvassers personally confirmed to me over the phone that “the board personally approved the petition form,” which will allow Americans Elect to begin collecting signatures to place its candidates on the ballot under the name of the “Americans Elect Party.”
The board also sent on to me a scanned copy of the Americans Elect petition form, which I’ve posted here for your review.
The form is clearly labeled as a “PETITION TO FORM NEW POLITICAL PARTY”, and reads at the top:
We, the undersigned, duly registered electors, residents of the County of _______, State of Michigan, residing at the the places set opposite our names, respectfully request the Secretary of State, in accordance with Section 685 of the Michigan election law, 1954 PA 116, MCL 168.685, to receive the certificate and vignette accompanying this petition, and place the names of the candidates of the AMERICANS ELECT PARTY on the state ballot at the November 6, 2012 election.
This verifies that as of four days ago, despite its 501(c)(4) reorganization as a “social welfare organization, Americans Elect is still planning to place candidates on the ballot in political elections.
You can read MCL 168.685 here: it is law governing the procedures for formation of a new political party through petition gathering. MCL 168.685 declares that any body seeking to qualify as a political party under MCL 168.685 must also adhere to the requirements of MCL 168.686a, which mandates that candidates for small and new parties be nominated either through county caucuses which select delegates to vote at a convention or directly through county caucuses themselves. The convention must occur at an announced time and place.
This procedure for Michigan-specific caucuses and conventions is seemingly at odds with Americans Elect’s plan to arrange “an online virtual primary and convention to nominate a Presidential – Vice President ticket.” And Americans Elect’s declaration of itself as a political party is seemingly at odds with Americans Elect’s re-registration in October 2010 as a 501(c)(4) corporation, which gains the advantage of being able to hide its donors from public disclosure only by pledging not to have political activity as its primary purpose.
I’ve sent e-mails and letters to Americans Elect leaders asking them to explain these and other discrepancies. I haven’t received any response yet, but if I do I’ll be sure to share what I learn with you.