Americans Elect Revises its Bylaws, Making it Impossible for Delegates to Remove Party Officers
Americans Elect is a joint political party/corporation with plans to run the first-ever privatized online presidential nomination. A new set of corporate bylaws, approved at the most recent meeting of the Americans Elect Board of Directors on December 19 2011, have been released this evening. Click here to read, search through, download and freely copy and paste the full text of the December 19 bylaws. I’ve made a mirror copy for historical purposes and because Americans Elect releases its documents in a “secure” pdf form that doesn’t allow readers to copy text for dissemination (or at least not without some serious noodling).
The previous bylaws were passed by the Americans Elect corporate Board of Directors on November 18 2011. Beyond small matters of grammar, it appears that just two changes have been made between then and now:
1. Prior to this week, Americans Elect bylaws had insisted that in order to overturn a decision of the Board of Directors or a decision of one of the Board’s wholly-controlled surrogate committees, a 2/3 supermajority of all people who have ever registered as delegates would have to turn up and vote against it. Now — see Section 5.6 and Section 8.3 — a simple majority of all people who have ever registered as delegates will have to turn up and vote against it.
This is an improvement. However, it is a general rule that most people who sign up for any activity online never return. An experimental online primary election run by the Arizona Democratic Party in 2000 reported “good turnout” when just 0.7% of registered Democrats cast ballots. Because a majority of Americans Elect delegates is unlikely to show up to vote at all, a more realistic standard for Americans to overturn a decision of the Board of Directors would be 2/3 of all voting delegates. This would still be a high bar for dissenting delegates to reach but not a practically impossible one.
2. Prior to this week, the Americans Elect bylaws made it technically possible to remove Americans Elect corporate-selected officers. The language in the old bylaws was:
Upon convening a convention, such officers shall be subject to ratification by the Delegates in accordance with these Bylaws. Upon failure to ratify, the Board shall appoint a different person as officer subject to further ratification in accordance with these Bylaws.
Now, keep in mind that this “ratification” had to meet that impractical standard of 2/3 of the ever-registered — a level that’s never been reached in a national election in the US. But at least it was technically possible for delegates to remove an Americans Elect corporate-selected officer.
In the new bylaws, that language has been erased. There now is no way for delegates to remove a corporate-selected officer of Americans Elect.