Summary: Americans Elect Policy Director Brian Findlay has responded to a copy of the motion to reverse one of its decisions by refusing to accept the motion while vaguely acknowledging that the motion has a point and generally promising to make some unspecified changes some time in the future.
Americans Elect Denies Delegate Rights, and a Motion to Reverse is Filed
Americans Elect is the first-ever privatized online presidential nomination. Its desire — to put its own candidate in the most powerful and heavily armed position on the planet — makes Americans Elect worth watching, carefully.
Under Rule 12.2 of the latest version of the Americans Elect official Rules, Delegates have the right to make a motion to “reverse any decision of any Committee or Board” of Americans Elect “by sending a statement of 500 words or less by email to the Board within 72 hours after notice of any decision is posted on the Website. The Board shall then post the statement on the Website with instructions that any Delegate who agrees with reversal shall ‘Support Click’ the statement.”
On February 29, 2012, Americans Elect posted notice of a decision at its new Board Decisions web page:
“All DECISIONS OF THE BOARD are posted here. Any non-unanimous decision may be overruled, if a majority of delegates oppose it within seven days of its posting.”
The declaration that only non-unanimous decisions may be overruled by delegates itself reflects a decision — a judgment and determination by Americans Elect that is new and unprecedented, a power to restrict delegates that is not reflected in either the up-to-date Bylaws or the up-to-date Rules of Americans Elect.
On March 2 2012, within 72 hours of the posting of this Americans Elect decision, I sent a formal delegate reversal motion to as many Americans Elect leadership e-mails as have been made publicly available — most, unfortunately, are not public. You can read the text of that delegate reversal motion here.
Americans Elect Responds Indirectly, Refuses the Motion, and Makes an Unclear Promise of Revision
Upon receiving word of my delegate reversal motion, Bill Busa seconded it and sent it on to Americans Elect as well. I have not received any response from Americans Elect or anyone in its leadership. This morning, Bill Busa received a response from Brian Findlay, Policy Director of Americans Elect. That response, helpfully forwarded by Bill Busa to me, reads:
“———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Brian Findlay”
Date: Mar 4, 2012 8:42 AM
Subject: Request for Delegate reversal
To: Bill Busa
Dear Mr. Busa,
Thank you for initiating a request for Delegate reversal of a Board decision pursuant to Americans Elect Convention Rule 12.2. Your request is not in order, however, because the language on the Website does not reflect a Board or Committee decision. We have reviewed your concern and your point is well taken. Accordingly, we will be revising the notice on the Website to more accurately reflect the Rules as you have noted.
We deeply appreciate your efforts to assure that the Website quality is improved. Thank you for calling this concern to our attention.
What can we glean from this response?
1. Americans Elect has refused to accept or post the motion per Rule 12.2.
2. Americans Elect says that the decision to make unanimous decisions non-reviewable was not made by any committee or board.
3. Americans Elect says that because the “point is well taken,” there will be some (unspecified) “revision.” (No such revision has yet been made as of the time of this post — look for it here by comparing what Americans Elect has posted to this screen capture of today’s version of the “Board Decisions” page .)
I have written to Brian Findlay this afternoon with a reply. You can read the text of that reply here. It asks whether Americans Elect would be kind enough to write back to me directly in the future when I make motions, who made the decision about limiting delegate powers of reversal if it wasn’t an Americans Elect Board or Committee, and how such decision-making powers are consistent with the Rules and Bylaws of Americans Elect. I also ask Findlay to make public an e-mail address for the Board of Advisors so that Delegates can actually e-mail the Board to make reversal motions as spelled out in Rule 12.2. Finally, I remind Findlay that there is another Motion for Reversal I’ve sent to Americans Elect leaders, one that no Americans Elect leader has responded to, either directly or indirectly.
If I receive a response on these points from Findlay or any other member of the leadership at Americans Elect, I’ll let you know. If you don’t see notice of a reply from Findlay here, you can safely assume that Findlay has not communicated in return.