Update, 6:53 pm: The succinct answer to the title of this post is “unfortunately not.” Not one of the questions listed in this post (or in the comments section covering the time period of the forum itself) was answered, save for a question posed and swiftly answered by Americans Elect DC co-organizer Ben Marcus.
The following is the complete set of questions submitted to Americans Elect via the #3wayrace Twitter hashtag as Americans Elect requested prior to its a 6:00 pm ET forum. At that forum, Americans Elect says its Policy Director will “answer any questions voters may have here.”
1. wjkno1 “#3WayRace – Americans Elect: Have you read and thought about this problem?
http://t.co/jJNzk8VG #PoliSci #cim #ows #ola #oo #occupy #OpESR”
2. jamesmcookusa @wjkno1 You ask an Important Question: Why is the @AmericansElect ballot not secret and could this facilitate vote buying? #3WayRace
3. jamesmcookusa @wjkno1 You ask an Important Question: Why is the @AmericansElect ballot not secret and could this facilitate vote buying? #3WayRace
4. jamesmcookusa Americans Elect says 2morrow it will answer “Any Questions” posed using the #3wayrace hashtag. Strong claim. http://t.co/boIpDBaB
5. jamesmcookusa Q: What are the specific characteristics of the “center” around which Americans Elect tickets must be “ideologically balanced?” #3wayrace
6. jamesmcookusa Q: #AmericansElect said it’d pay back big loans once voting underway. That’s now. What % of loans has been paid back? #3wayrace
7. jamesmcookusa #AmericansElect sez no sharing names of big funders: their feelings will be hurt! Q instead: how MANY people have donated > $10K? #3wayrace
8. jamesmcookusa #AmericansElect sez no sharing names to save tender feelings of big funders! Q instead: what are occupations of donors >$10K? #3wayrace
9. jamesmcookusa Q: In conf call #AmericansElect says leaders don’t know who funders are, then mentions discussions with funders. Explain? #3wayrace
10. jamesmcookusa Q: Y or N for #AmericansElect: Should Republicans and Democrats be allowed to take funds of unlimited size without disclosure? #3wayrace
11. jamesmcookusa Q: If #AmericansElect won’t disclose names of funders, will it release histogram with num of donors at each $ amount given? #3wayrace
12. jamesmcookusa Q: What is num of funders of Americans Elect who are also listed on #AmericansElect “Who We Are” leadership page? #3wayrace
13. jamesmcookusa Q: U Said Ud “answer any questions.” How does Americans Elect decide which questions get asked tonight at #3wayrace town hall?
14. jamesmcookusa Q: Platform of Questions does not represent Americans Elect delegate choices. Why? http://t.co/HV1e11IX #3wayrace #AmericansElect #ethics
15. jamesmcookusa I am an #AmericansElect delegate: “true boss.” Can I see transcripts of AE board and committee meetings? What a “true boss” gets! #3wayrace
16. jamesmcookusa Q: #Americans Elect sez “none of our funding comes from special interests or lobbyists.” Holbrook? Sansonetti? Whitman? Explain. #3wayrace
17. jamesmcookusa How will Americans Elect corporate board use “extraordinary authority and power to take any action necessary” in #3wayrace? (see bylaws)
18. jamesmcookusa No #AmericansElect draft candidate is currently on pace to make the ballot. IF no candidate meets ballot standard, what then #3wayrace
19. JackORourke54 How many draft committees will open up tonight #3wayrace. In Westerly, RI @AmericansElect
In addition, William Busa has cc-ed me on the following questions he’s submitted for Americans Elect to answer via the requested alternative means, e-mail address threewayrace@AmericansElect.org:
William Busa: Given that vigorous and thoughtful discussion is the essential backbone of democracy, shouldn’t Americans Elect provide a better means for delegate debate than the current third-party GetSatisfaction “customer” forum (joined by only 1.8% of all Americans Elect members to date, and difficult to navigate)? The current ‘Debates’ (sic) section of the AE web site does not permit “debate” (which necessarily requires back-and-forth discussion). The efficient promotion of wide discussion is one of the greatest strengths of the internet, so why isn’t the self-described champion of internet-enabled democracy, Americans Elect, implementing this? Right now, about all that delegates can do is click and tweet, more like whales than thoughtful humans.
William Busa: Allegations have repeatedly been raised (most notably by The Center For Investigative Reporting’s California Watch) that AE founder and chairman Peter Ackerman’s lawyer hired a Sacramento lobbyist to get a bill introduced in 2005 to change California tax law — a bill which a Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee analysis noted appeared to solely benefit Mr. Ackerman, at a cost of $5 million to the state. Such allegations of the behind-the-scenes use of private wealth to ‘fix’ public law for the sole benefit of one wealthy individual are of obvious concern and relevance to those who wish Americans Elect well. Would Mr. Ackerman please discuss these allegations and either confirm or deny his personal knowledge of and involvement in the alleged affair? If these allegations are substantially true, shouldn’t Mr. Ackerman withdraw from involvement in Americans Elect to avoid compromising its avowed mission?
William Busa: Please name all of the individuals whom officers, employees, or agents of Americans Elect have approached to consider declaring as candidates for the AE nomination (or, if time does not permit, please list these names on your web site). Please include these individuals’ current political party affiliations. If you decline to answer this question, please describe in detail the decision-making process within Americans Elect whereby such individuals, and not others, are selected as targets for these approaches without benefit of input from AE delegates.
William Busa: The latest news item posted on the Americans Elect web site is titled “Low Turnout and the Big Tune-Out”, and cites the unusually low participation in 2012 GOP primaries as evidence of voters’ disaffection with today’s democratic process. How many Americans Elect delegates have voted so far in the candidate drafting vote now underway? What percentage of AE delegates does this represent? Projecting the AE voting rate to date out to the draft vote’s scheduled end date, what percentage of AE delegates would be projected to participate in this vote? How does this compare to the percentage of eligible Republicans who have voted in 2012 primaries to date?
William Busa: To date, how much has Americans Elect spent per valid signature submitted in ballot access petitions? What is the total spent to date on ballot access signature gathering? Please identify the top recipient of these funds.
William Busa: Americans Elect has repeatedly promised that its voting procedures will be independently audited and that voting Delegates will receive paper receipts documenting their votes. Nonetheless, voting is underway right now (in the candidates draft) but no receipts are being issued and AE has not documented or even discussed any audit process. Why the failure to fulfill your promise? Given the total absence of voting process validation and transparency, how can anyone trust the published results of the voting process?
William Busa: What are the names and professional affiliations of Americans Elect donors who have donated or ‘loaned’ AE $10,000 or more?
William Busa: Americans Elect has repeatedly declined to identify its major donors, citing concern that its donors might be harassed. Given that this is, at best, a hypothetical concern, contrasted with the over two hundred years of ample historical evidence of the threat to democracy posed by anonymous moneyed interests working in secret to advance their personal agendas, doesn’t Americans Elect’s insistent secrecy compromise its mission by promoting suspicions regarding its interests?
William Busa: Many observers have criticized Americans Elect for the surprisingly anti-democratic rules enshrined in its own Bylaws, i.e.:
1. The Board of Directors is self-appointed without the advice or consent of the Delegates.
2. That self-appointed Board reserves “extraordinary authority and power to take or compel any action.” As written, this could include overriding the delegates’ choice of nominee.
3. The members of the all-important Candidate Certification and Rules committees, among others, are appointed by the self-appointed Board, not elected by the Delegates, and “serve at the pleasure of the Board.” Thus, the Board reserves absolute and exclusive control over the conduct and outcome of the convention.
4. The Delegates in convention can only ratify measures brought to them by the Board or its committees; the delegates cannot initiate measures themselves (such as proposed changes to these Bylaws).
Isn’t it a non sequiter to employ such an autocratic governance structure to promote and improve the democratic process? Why should we, the Delegates, place our confidence in a political organization which declines to submit to even a vestige of democratic process itself?
Let’s see if these questions actually get answered by Policy Director Brian Findlay and Regional Field Director Drew Hazouri, who are appearing on the Ustream webcast right now.