In 4 months and 3 days, Americans Elect will hold its first vote in the nation’s first-ever corporate privatized online-only presidential nomination.
In a press release dated yesterday, Americans Elect Press Secretary Ileana Wachtel chastised two of Barack Obama senior campaign staffers for the sin of criticizing Americans Elect as a “board of censors to decide who’s worthy of being nominated or not” and “backroom bosses”. Wachtel accused David Axelrod and Jim Messina of ignorance and gave them a reading assignment:
Like the millions of Americans who have already come to AmericansElect.org, we invite Mr. Axelrod and Mr. Messina to read the rules and bylaws of Americans Elect.
There are two little problems you might notice if you follow that link. First, it’s an outdated version of the bylaws of Americans Elect, a version last amended on July 1, 2011. There’s a more recent version passed by the Americans Elect corporate board of directors on November 18 2011, the full text of which you can search and read here. If you (and this means you, Messrs. Axelrod and Messina) would like to read the pdf original, you can’t read it on the Americans Elect website, because Americans Elect hasn’t shared it with the public. Fortunately, you can find the bylaws quietly filed with the state of Florida as part of a package of legal statements (see the link dated November 22nd). It may not be Ms. Wachtel’s fault that she referred Axelrod and Messina to an outdated document; Americans Elect corporate leaders may not have shared the new document with her, just as they haven’t shared the new document with the public on their website.
Also in that same package of legal statements quietly filed with the state of Florida are the Draft Rules for the Americans Elect voting process (see page 27 on the November 22 document for the rules). In her suggestion that Axelrod and Messina read the rules, Wachtel didn’t actually link to the Draft Rules document, which in any case is not final but still, despite the looming date of Americans Elect’s first vote, “pending.”
Like the dozens of Americans who have been paying attention more than Americans Elect’s own Press Secretary, I invite Ms. Wachtel to read the draft rules and the actual bylaws in effect. She’ll discover what Alec MacGillis of the New Republic recently did:
Well, I checked the by-laws, and they do in fact make it sound like there will be some sort of screening process by the “Candidate Certification Committee,” which “shall be responsible for certifying that candidates and draftees for the offices and president and vice president meet all constitutional eligibility, as well as to develop and apply criteria of demonstrated achievements based on qualifications of past presidents and vice presidents to ensure that only persons capable of performing the duties of president and vice president are eligible for voting by the registered Delegates, subject only to a two thirds vote to the contrary by all registered Delegates in accordance with Section 5.6.”
Hmm…”demonstrated achievements based on qualification of past presidents and vice presidents?” Like, say, being a poor-spelling back-bench congressman or the recent former mayor of a town of 6,000 people?