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Americans Elect Petition Drive Moves to California

Americans Elect has filed formal notice with the California Secretary of State that it is a political body attempting to qualify as a political party by collecting signatures in the state. This act renders the 501c4 corporation’s insistence to its Facebook friends that “we are not a political party of any sort” even more suspect, raising the number of states in which it is confirmed to be organizing as a political party from two (Michigan and Nevada) to three.

Americans Elect Claims it is not a Third Party.  That it is not a political party of any sort.  But it just filed papers to organize as a political party in the state of California.  Is Americans Elect worthy of your trust?

The reason this matters is simple. Americans Elect reorganized itself as a 501c4 corporation in order to hide the identity of its funders from you, the public, as it readies itself to run its own candidates for President and Vice President of the United States. If it is funded in secret and making public declarations at odds with the truth, you have to ask yourself if Americans Elect is worthy of your trust. The rest of the claims Americans Elect makes about itself are undocumented. Why should you believe that they are true?

March 25, 2011 Update: Thanks to a helpful employee in the California Secretary of State’s office, I’ve obtained a copy of Americans Elect’s March 21 letter to the California Secretary of State, as well as a copy of the California Secretary of State’s subsequent March 24 letter to County Clerks and Registrars of Voters.

The text of Americans Elect’s letter to the California Secretary of State reads:


March 21, 2011

Secretary of State
Attn: Deirdre Avent
1500 11th Street, 5th Floor
Sacramento, CA 98514

Secretary of State:

Americans Elect hereby registers to the California Secretary of State its intent to qualify in the state of California as required by California Elections Code Section 5100(c). Americans Elect is organizing for the sole purpose of creating a nominating process for president and vice president of the United States and not for any other local, county, state or federal offices. On March 18, 2011, members of Americans Elect convened, where it was unanimously approved that Peter Ackerman and Kahlil Byrd be its temporary officers.


Peter Ackerman
Americans Elect
1775 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20006

Kahlil Byrd
Americans Elect
1775 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20006

California Elections Code Section 5100 reads:

5100. A party is qualified to participate in any primary election
under any of the following conditions:
(a) If at the last preceding gubernatorial election there was
polled for any one of its candidates for any office voted on
throughout the state, at least 2 percent of the entire vote of the state.
(b) If on or before the 135th day before any primary election, it
appears to the Secretary of State, as a result of examining and
totaling the statement of voters and their political affiliations
transmitted to him or her by the county elections officials, that
voters equal in number to at least 1 percent of the entire vote of
the state at the last preceding gubernatorial election have declared
their intention to affiliate with that party.
(c) If on or before the 135th day before any primary election,
there is filed with the Secretary of State a petition signed by
voters, equal in number to at least 10 percent of the entire vote of
the state at the last preceding gubernatorial election, declaring
that they represent a proposed party, the name of which shall be
stated in the petition, which proposed party those voters desire to
have participate in that primary election. This petition shall be
circulated, signed, verified and the signatures of the voters on it
shall be certified to and transmitted to the Secretary of State by
the county elections officials substantially as provided for
initiative petitions. Each page of the petition shall bear a caption
in 18-point boldface type, which caption shall be the name of the
proposed party followed by the words “Petition to participate in the
primary election.”

While Americans Elect insists to the public that it is “not a political party of any sort,” it has written the California Secretary of State this week to officially register its plan to qualify as a political party. According to the Secretary of State, the official vote count for the California gubernatorial election of 2010 is 10,094,839, which means that in order to qualify under section 5100(c) Americans Elect’s contractors will have to collect slightly more than 1 million signatures. This will be an expensive undertaking.

To read more about Americans Elect, follow this ongoing series of articles.

11 thoughts on “Americans Elect Petition Drive Moves to California”

  1. Jim Cook says:

    An update: the morning after this post, I notice that Americans Elect has revised its assertion, adding in a “traditional” qualifier to give themselves a bit of rhetorical wiggle room. Its new text as of the morning of March 25 2011:

    Americans Elect revises its claim about political party status as of March 25 2011, now asserting that it is not a traditional political party of any sort

    But even this equivocation is still untrue. The American tradition is for political parties to get on the ballot in the 50 states by gaining signatures on petitions. This is exactly what Americans Elect is doing, explicitly following the traditional route of qualifying for status as a political party.

    1. Lorna says:

      Except for the fact that they are lying to their petition gatherers. The big question is “why?”. What is it about Americans Elect that they don’t want people to know? Are they a puppet organization that’s being given the task of breaking the integrity of the ever-more motivated and effective conservative majority?

  2. Ryanspyke says:

    What exactly is the purpose of this, Plebiscite? It’s one line with no other description in anyway.
    Any Idea their long terms goals or what they DO stand for… I see what they are NOT… but what will their platform be?

    1. Hendrix says:

      We would all like to know, but they would prefer blind support.

  3. Darryl Jackson says:

    Can you please give me the contact info so i can help with this petition thanks have a good day.

  4. Lorna says:

    Why are your petitioners outside the Safeway in Alameda, CA, LYING ABOUT THE PETITION!!!! The young men who were gathering signatures (at $1.25 each if the going rate offered on the web is to be believed) said the petition was about “Allowing disabled people to vote online.” When challenged, they pointed to their petition that said “Americans Elect to participate in elections” and said “It’s about disabled people.” I despise this kind of manipulation, and people fall for it! They sign without thinking!

    1. Lorna says:

      I went back to the Safeway today and talked to the young men. Before, I was so ANGRY that I assumed they were lying to me. Then, as I reflected, I thought about the very likely scenario that these young people were in fact BEING LIED TO. As it turns out, they very much believe that their petition is about disability rights. They are very confused that they have been LIED TO by the “Stanley Brothers”.

      What a crime— lying to young people to get them to do your dirty work. Who do you think you are, Stanley Brothers, if in fact you exist at all????

  5. Former Libertarian Party State Chair says:

    The Libertarian Party is the first legitimate and continuously existing third party that has been around since 1971. We were the first third party to battle to get a presidential candidates on the ballot in all 50 states. This is no easy task.

    Libertarians had decades of ballot access experience but understand how state legistlations are always trying to undermine third parties and candidates.

    I am skeptical of Americans Elect as a 501c4 corporation implying it is a political party yet saying it is not.

    Real political parties have face to face conventions and can only vote in primaries for candidates registered with that party.

    Problems with the Americans Elect PAC or party

    Internet votes don’t count as real votes for any state.

    I think the biggest problem they will have is finding a candidate favorable to most Americans.

    If I speculate, Americans Elect may desire to have a well known person as a candidate such as Donald Trump or Ron Paul maybe evn Michael Bloomberg.

    They may sound great to members of the Americans Elect website but the problem is that these well known people are not actually registered as a voter of the Americans Elect party, because this party does not exist and not in all 50 states.

    As a former state Libertarian Party Chairman of the largest and continuous third party, we had to fight 17 years to be able to get on the Florida ballot as a Libertarian Party candidate
    We fought for decades and eventually won fair ballot access in the 1998 when voters in Florida overwhelmingly passed Revision 11, a constitutional amendment that passed by a 64% majority of Florida voters.

    Florida recently passed even more strict regulations to become a state party in Florida. It involves even more unecessary paperwork and expenses such as hiring a certified accountant yearly (which costs about $500) to certify party income and expenses even though is publically available via online reporting at the Florida Division of Elections website.

    If Americans Elect wants to become an actual legitimate party in Florida it will be required by state elections law to have a state party website that posts regular meetings and have a minimum number of Florida voters registered with
    it in Florida as a legally registered Americans Elect party chapter in Florida.

    You have be on the ballot in the primary vote as a third party candidate AND have registered voters of that third party actually vote for you in the primary first before you can be on the general election ballot.
    Plus there are time limits for registration and getting on the ballot.

    Also it should be noted that no party can simply put someone on the ballot as their candidate via some internet vote.

    In 2008 some Libertarians wanted to have registered Republican Ron Paul as the “Libertarian Party” Presidential Candidate.
    Ron Paul said no, inspite of all kinds of “internet support” and pro Ron Paul blog commentary.

    The “Libertarian Party” could not simply declare or put Ron Paul on the ballot as the “Libertarian Party” candidate or as an “independent ” NPA candidate either. The candidate would have to agree to be the candidate for that party and be “registered” with that party to run as a candidate.

    I can only speculate that Americans Elect is trying to trick people into thinking they can actually vote for a candidate via the internet.
    This may great for polling and collecting data but it won’t count as a legitimate vote.

    I suspect the real purpose of Americans Elect may be a sort of shell corporation of unknown [conservative] funders who are going to dangle a pile of money to some money hungry candidate who may help shave away independent votes away from Obama.

  6. MargaretRose says:

    Check out their Board of Directors. Most are mega-rich, ultra conservatives. None of them are exactly what one might call populists. When I first heard about this, I thought it was a great idea. Once I did some checking, I realized it was a neo-con front.

    1. MargaretRose says:

      I know this is kind of weird, replying to myself, but I just wanted to let you know that this information is on the Irregular Times website at

  7. Vinnie White says:

    I need Mr. Peter Ackerman to contact me, I’m in Atlanta, GA. I was circulating petitions for your organization for $1.50 per registered voter. Richard Breslin did not pay me as agreed. He still owes me $257.50. If this issue is not resolved within 24hrs, you leave no choice but to seek justice from others sources. It took me many hours of hard work to collect the signatures. I would appreciate full pay for all the signatures that Americans Elect kept in their possesion. This experience has left a bitter taste and I hope I don’t have to take it to the media. I can be reach at 404-254-0275.

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