Levi Denham, a former signature gatherer for Americans Elect in the state of California, wrote to me last week to explain why he’s refused to collect signatures for the 501c4 corporation’s presidential election effort any more:
I wanted to find a way to pitch this to people without feeling deceitful. Signing a petition that could affect who wins the next presidential election is a big deal. If I’m gathering signatures and someone asks me a question, I’m not going to say “no comment”. I’m not going to refer them to the web site of American’s Elect (which is not a web site, just a landing page with some quotes on it).
The idea of holding an online convention is not only interesting, it’s the foundation the entire “party” stands on (“Americans Elect is not a political party”; what’s the name of the party?). Any marginally-informed, concerned citizen would immediately have questions about such a novel idea, when given more than a minute or two to decide whether to back the idea or not. The fact that I’m told to avoid answering questions about this online convention tells me that something shady, or incompetent is going on here.
It is for this reason, and all of the obfuscation, and the focus on gimmickery instead of informing people so that they can make informed choices, that I won’t be a part of this. And it’s the reason this petition will never pass muster with the citizens of California as currently being presented to them.
Sorry, I really wanted this to work.
Denham tells me that he and other signature-gatherers raised questions about Americans Elect, trying to find out more about Americans Elect’s origins, plans and activities before they helped to give the corporation a space on the 2012 presidential ballot. According to Denham, they were stonewalled, which is the point at which when Denham refused to participate any longer.