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9 Days In, No Americans Elect Presidential Candidates are on Pace to Get on the Ballot

In a publicity release sent out on January 17 2012, Americans Elect declared the GOP presidential nomination race to be sadly all wrapped up after Iowa and New Hampshire. Americans in other states wanting to express their presidential choice would have to look to (and donate money to) Americans Elect:

Americans Elect Publicity Release of January 17 2012, complaining that the GOP Race was over after Iowa and New Hampshire.

Actually, two different GOP presidential candidates won the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, and events proved Americans Elect wrong just four days later when a third GOP candidate won the South Carolina primary, tossing the GOP race up for grabs.

That didn’t stop Americans Elect from trying the same line again. In a news release dated February 2, just two days after Mitt Romney won his second primary victory, Americans Elect seemed to be eager to declare him the GOP winner already so it could recast itself as the democratic alternative:

Only four states have had a chance to vote in the GOP primaries, but experts are saying the process is over. Are voters happy?

But actual democracy soon intervened again to counter the Americans Elect narrative. On February 7, voters in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri handed election victories to Rick Santorum, not Mitt Romney. Now Mitt Romney has won the majority of delegates, Rick Santorum has won the majority of states, while Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are continuing to campaign through the Super Tuesday primaries of March 6. By the end of that night Republican voters in 21 states will have cast their votes. In short, the GOP nomination looks to be an actual election involving large numbers of voters.

Whatever number of people have voted in the Republican presidential nomination process, it seems to not be enough to meet Americans Elect’s standards. Back in January, Americans Elect complained about “Only 369,448 Votes” in Iowa and New Hampshire. But with the addition of South Carolina, Florida, Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, there have now been 3,022,769 votes cast.

In contrast, Americans Elect has had its own online presidential nomination ballot qualification vote going on around the clock for nine full days now. How many cumulative votes has it attracted over those 9 days, and what has the cumulative vote count in the Republican race been? Results as of this morning:

Cumulative Number of Votes cast in the Republican nominating process and the Americans Elect nominating process, as of the morning of February 9 2012

Only 6,429 votes had been cast in the Americans Elect process, just two-tenths of one percent of the participation in the Republican process. If 369,448 votes are meager, what does that make 6,429 votes? The disparity is cast in starker terms when one realizes that in the Americans Elect process, one person can vote many times. The actual number of people participating in the Americans Elect process, despite media coverage in every major TV network and newspaper, is even smaller than the number of votes.

The vote totals for particular Americans Elect contenders tell an even bleaker picture: unless Americans Elect changes its voting procedure in the middle of the voting — a highly irregular move — it doesn’t look as though anyone will qualify for the Americans Elect ballot at all. According to the rules published during the first day of the ballot qualification vote, political insiders will have to obtain 10,000 votes of support and political outsiders will have to obtain 50,000 votes of support by May 15. By that standard, with 9 days gone and 96 days left to go, only Ron Paul (with 1,372 votes of support as of this morning) is on pace to obtain 10,000 votes by May 15.

But wait, there’s more. Even Ron Paul isn’t actually on pace to get on the Americans Elect ballot, because there’s a second standard he has to meet. For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, only the first thousand votes for a candidate in a state will be counted toward the 10,000 vote total, and only the ten states with the most votes will count have their votes counted toward that 10,000 vote total. The 10,000 votes have to consist of 1,000 votes in each of 10 and only 10 states. As of now, these are the top ten states from which Ron Paul has received support in the Americans Elect vote:

California: 144 votes
Texas: 107 votes
Florida: 97 votes
New York: 73 votes
Virginia: 58 votes
Pennsylvania: 54 votes
Ohio: 48 votes
Michigan: 44 votes
Washington: 43 votes
Illinois: 42 votes

Did you notice that these are the most populous states of the United States? That’s not a coincidence; for all its talk of democracy, the Americans Elect process effectively disenfranchises small states, which with smaller populations are unlikely to scrape together 1,000 votes for anybody. It’s the big states that will either qualify or not qualify a candidate for the Americans Elect nomination. At this rate, with 9 days gone and 96 left to go, Ron Paul will only get 1,000 votes in California, Texas and Florida by May 15.

And the other Americans Elect draft candidates? Insider or outsider, they aren’t on pace to get 1,000 votes of support in any state at all.

The bottom line is that while Americans Elect corporate leaders complain about lack of participation in the Republican nomination, the Americans Elect vote is far, far less popular. To deal with its lack of support, Americans Elect will have to mount a huge publicity campaign very soon, or it will have to change the rules of its voting in the middle of its vote, or it will have to benefit from a well-funded candidate who decides to invest significant funds, or it will have to leave its ballot empty in 2012.

9 comments to 9 Days In, No Americans Elect Presidential Candidates are on Pace to Get on the Ballot

  • Joshua

    “Outsider” candidates need 50,000 clicks of support (5,000 from each of 10 states), not 20,000. But otherwise, this post looks accurate, especially the last sentence.

  • Jim Jensen

    I’ve looked at this same primary source, and have noticed not only the low vote count so far, but also that the collection of draftees does not support your claim, in your recent “Ten Questions for Americans Elect, February 2012″ that AE has a “centrist” agenda. Is Ron Paul centrist? How about Sarah Palin? Maybe Hillary Clinton?

    The “original source” allegedly documenting AE’s centrist “fetish” (according to you) was the May 2011 version of AE’s Bylaws, which by the time your February article was posted, had already been replaced by the December 2011 revision. There is no use of the term “centrist” in the December 2011 version.

    Come on now, Mr. Cook. You’re supposed to be a professional. Would you care to offer a retraction? Or an apology for using an outdated “primary source”? As with your “Article 9″ and “Rule 2.2.1.2″ citations, it’s one thing to offer a citation, and something else again to understand it and present it objectively.

    And please avoid putting words in my mouth. You did so twice in your previous responses to my comments, most lately that I suggested you join Americans Elect. I made no such suggestion. Why not, instead of your carping about AE, show some evidence of positive effort toward solving our nations very serious self-governance problems. If you don’t want to join AE, consider United Republic, which aims for a Constitutional Amendment on campaign finance reform.

    I’d like to add that I very much appreciated your reciprocal personal disclosure. Your having done so elevates your stock considerably in my view.

  • Jim

    If you’re going to call for an apology you should be accurate.

    You’re confusing the actions of delegates with the actions of Americans Elect, and the bylaws were not the only documents to which I referred to support the claims of centrism in our earlier discussion. The documents were records of multiple web pages, of images and a video produced by AE embracing centrism explicitly at repeated points in time, all within the past year. I stand by what I have said, because it is accurate and fully documented.

    I am uninterested in responding to your renewed personal allegations about what you think I do outside of my (unpaid, not professional) remarks regarding Americans Elect, since they are so wholly unbased in reality.

  • Jim Jensen

    You made a specific reference, via links, to an obsolete edition of AE’s Bylaws, published in May 2011–which by the time of your February article “10 questions…”– had been replaced by one released in December 2011, and that offered no support for your thesis on “centrism”. I’m not accusing you of deception. I think you just screwed up and I also think that you’re obligated to own it, not change the subject or offer some lame references to earlier “documentation”. AE is a work in progress. What AE is attempting hasn’t been tried before, as far as I’m aware, and it’s not easy or inexpensive to accomplish. Consider downloading and reading the latest editions of AE’s official documents. By all means criticize them; I’ll forward your comments. And I noticed that you didn’t respond to my pointing out the various non-centrist AE draftees. What is your response?

    The two major Parties might reasonably view AE as making a vigorous attack on their political monopoly. The AE major donors have businesses, money and other assets at stake, and in my opinion are entirely justified in withholding their identities from the two Parties who, in owning the US government, can respond with devastating retaliation. I’ve offered this view multiple times now, and you still haven’t responded. What is your response?

    As to my “renewed allegations”, I haven’t made any, but once again you’re putting words (for the third time) in my mouth. I do sincerely respect you for your personal disclosures.

    As to the Constitution: I notice you believe in it. I believe in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I also believe that the Constitution is seriously flawed, and would be willing to discuss this with you, back-channel initially, in case you find the subject interesting. You have my email address.

    Lastly, what incentive can you offer AE officials for an interview with you? Your strategy so far has been to attack, and to do so in a strongly biased and sloppy way. When you can assure AE officials of an open-minded (i.e. willingness to acknowledge the positive aspects of AE goals and actions–along with your pointed questions and criticisms–they might accept. AE folks have certainly consented to be interviewed by other journalists. BTW, the AE website, “Learn” page has a “Media Contact” request feature.

    Jim Jensen, Member
    Americans Elect and United Republic

    • Mr. Jensen, with all due respect you’re digging a hole for yourself. You clearly didn’t read beyond the headline of that URL, which documents everything I’ve said it documents regarding centrism, not just bylaws. That link, for others who’d like to see it, is at http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2011/06/04/no-agendas-really-americans-elect-bylaws-specify-2012-ticket-with-centrist-principles/ and the other link I provided to the centrism claim in the same thread is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZnCuw6yVMg . The discussion to which Jim Jensen refers is at http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2012/02/04/ten-questions-for-americans-elect-february-2012/ . I continue to stand by what I have said, because it is factually accurate and completely documented. Even the evidence were limited to past bylaws within the past year, which it is not, declaration by the leadership of Americans Elect within the past year that it intends to be centrist is germane.

      Second, please don’t accuse me of being sloppy in a sloppy manner, namely without support. Do you have a piece of information that I’ve offered that is factually incorrect? Then state it, with complete links to sources. That’s my approach, and I don’t consider it sloppy. Go right ahead. If I’m factually incorrect, I will appreciate the fully sourced correction. If you just don’t like what I have to say, then that’s your problem, not mine.

      Third, my reaction to your idea that Americans Elect could suffer negative repercussions if people knew who was behind it is to ask for evidence of such retaliation in modern times. That’s what it means to not be “sloppy,” to use your own choice term. Here’s a task for you: did Ross Perot’s business, Perot Systems, lose out on any government contracts for which he had made the best application? You’ve made the claim: now go and find the evidence. If you cannot provide such evidence, then you’re making a claim without support. I also think it’s curious that you’ve asked me to make full personal disclosure of who I am (which I’ve done) but think the plutocrats behind Americans Elect shouldn’t disclose who they are (and which they haven’t done). They’re the ones who want to promote the election of someone with his or her finger on the nuclear trigger, not me.

      Fourth, as you know since you’ve read and commented on this article, I’ve directly offered Americans Elect the opportunity to provide information about the nature of their funding without any reference to the names of funders. They won’t provide that information, either, which is curious.

      Fifth, my justification for obtaining information from Americans Elect is that I am an enfranchised American citizen who has legitimate questions. I am also a participating, vetted and verified Americans Elect delegate, and Americans Elect has explicitly declared that “The Delegates — and the rest of the American people — are the true boss of Americans Elect.” If Americans Elect thinks that’s not a sufficient justification, or thinks that only sympathetic questions are legitimate, then that says something about the character of Americans Elect. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, but the Democratic and Republican (and other, smaller, parties) provide answers to these sorts of questions all the time.

      • Let me get you started on that “retaliation against Ross Perot for his independent presidential run” thingamabob.

        After running for President in 1984 1992 and again in 1988 1996, Ross Perot sold Perot Systems to Dell in September of 2009 for a lot of money — in no small measure because Perot Systems had gotten a whole lot of government contracts. In 2009, the year that Ross Perot sold Perot Systems to Dell, Perot Systems was listed as the 40th biggest government contractor with $543.9 billion million in federal contracts. In 2008, Perot Systems was the 41st largest with $457.8 billion million in federal contracts. In 2007, ranked #60 with $257.7 billion million in federal contracts. In 2006, ranked #44 with $249.9 billion million in federal contracts.

        Clearly, the big two parties have just shut him out, right? The facts say nope.

        • Joshua

          Jim Cook: The years in which Perot ran for president were 1992 and 1996, and for the years you mentioned, the amounts should be given in millions, not billions (i.e. Perot Systems had $543.9 million in government contracts in 2009).

        • Joshua:

          Quite right. Don’t know what I was thinking when making those errors. I think it’s possible that I didn’t sleep enough last night! I appreciate your notice of those mistakes. Now that was really “sloppy” on my part!

          Fixing the errors now in that comment, while still noting the errors were made.

          The numerical errors do not negate the actual patterns: Perot Systems has still been ranked in the top 50 federal contractors in recent years, for instance.

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