According to both Americans Elect’s home page and its draft rules, the 501c4 corporation will hold its first round of voting in 147 days, less than five months from now. The outcome of that vote: a nominee for President of the United States of America. Americans Elect will be on the ballot in all 50 states in 2012.
With less than five months to go until that momentous vote, the first ever national online presidential nominating vote in the history of the United States, here’s where Americans Elect stands:
Now, when pressed in an interview Americans Elect will trot out all sorts of numbers: the millions of people its paid circulators have gathered petitions from, or the hundreds of thousands of facebook fans it has gathered, or the scores of thousands of people who have signed up with accounts on its website. But none of these people are delegates, the people who actually are supposed to cast votes on April 17, 2012. According to the Americans Elect bylaws, to be a delegate Americans Elect must verify the voter registration of each person with an account. Americans Elect has not started that process. Americans Elect has no delegates.
In an unfortunate turn that violates the spirit of the neutrality clause in its bylaws, Americans Elect has already begun promoting some possible presidential contenders over others, creating an opaque ranking system plagued by factual inaccuracies and even mixed-up identities.
But it has no registered candidates running for the Americans Elect nomination. The system for candidates to start up their campaign was originally supposed to be up and running on November 6. 16 days later, that deadline has been dropped and there’s no sign it will start up soon. And of course, with no Americans Elect delegates, there’s no people who are able to start draft campaigns either.
If a corporation is going to come on the scene and proclaim the saving grace of its plan for a first-ever national online American presidential nomination, it’s reasonable to ask if such an untried technological system with untried corporate leadership can be trusted to be safe, reliable, hack-proof and accurate. One way to assuage these concerns is to have a capable, rigorous and wholly independent auditor ready to verify the quality of the process and the outcome. With less than five months to go before this monumentally new endeavor, Mother Jones has asked Americans Elect corporate leader Kahlil Byrd whether the corporation has an auditor in place. Byrd’s response: Americans Elect “is in the early stages of those conversations.”
Let’s come back in a week and see whether Americans Elect has made any measurable progress in these regards. There are only 21 weeks left to go.