Many thanks go out to Reddit user JackInStL, who alerted me just in time to the existence of a live chat session at which Americans Elect CEO Kahlil Byrd accepted questions and — in a surprise to me — answered many of them. Many of Byrd’s answers would reflect positive steps for Americans Elect, if the promised steps are actually implemented.
What do we know now about Americans Elect that we didn’t know a few hours ago? I’ll let Kahlil Byrd (KB) speak for himself:
Q: “1) Can you swear as the CEO and for the reputation of AE.org that when the people vote for their nominee that your Board won’t drop him and pick your own candidate?”
KB: “Yes, because swapping out candidates is not in the spirit of why we spent so much time and energy building this platform for the American people. It’s up to AE delegates to choose who the nominee will be. If we were to do what you suggest, we would alienate our millions of supporters and destroy what we have all built together. Instead, we intend to keep it growing for years to come.”
You heard it from Byrd’s own mouth: Americans Elect’s CEO swears that Americans Elect will not use its power to kick delegate-selected candidates off the ballot. He swears it!
Update: Funny thing: the day before Kahlil Byrd made this public avowal, he met in private with the Americans Elect Board of Advisors and voted to take away delegates’ right to overturn a candidate’s exclusion from the ballot. If candidates aren’t going to be excluded from the ballot by Americans Elect, as Kahlil Byrd swears, then why vote to make such exclusions harder to reverse?
KB: “We are planning to expand to congressional and local races in 2013 and beyond.”
This means the power structure Americans Elect sets up for itself will have an wide and deep impact on American democracy… if Americans Elect doesn’t fold. (Who are its funders again?)
Q: “Are there any plans to generate more enthusiasm for Americans Elect (e.g., through advertisements)?”
KB: “We aren’t planning an ad campaign…”
Q: “What role to you expect AE to have post election?”
KB: “One of our core missions is to get on the ballot nationwide in 2012. We fully expect to continue to be on the ballot in 2013, 2014, and 2016. In ’13, we’ll go beyond the presidential campaign and focus on state level efforts. We hope this will yield candidates for governor, senator, congress, and below. This will be one of the most exciting phases of the next chapter of our work.”
Americans Elect wants to run democracy through its corporate model… everywhere in America.
Q: “As I noted in another question, I’ve made two formal motions for delegate reversal, in a manner compliant with Rule 12.2.
Delegate Bill Busa, who seconded my first of two motions, received a reply about the first of the two motions from AE Policy Director Brian Findlay (oddly, I didn’t get any reply, although I sent the motion to you first). Thanks go to Mr. Busa for sharing the reply, which said the motion was out of order because no committee or board made the decision — which was to prevent delegates from making reversal motions when the board is unanimous. That’s not in compliance with Rule 12.2, which says delegates can make reversal motions for ANY decision made by ANY AE committee or board.
My questions here:
1. If no committee or board made the decision to prevent delegates from being able to make reversal motions, then who did?
2. Since that decision is out of compliance with Rule 12.2, will it be reversed?”
KB: “You’re correct, there was a mistake on that page which is being corrected this week.”
The Americans Elect CEO has just acknowledged that the claim that unanimous decisions of the Board can’t be reviewed is a mistake, and that it will be corrected (although the error is still posted on the AE website).
Q: “Mr. Byrd, I am James Cook, Americans Elect User #385 and a verified Americans Elect delegate. Last week, I sent two formal delegate motions for reversal to available Board of Directors and leadership e-mail addresses, as specified in Rule 12.2 of the Americans Elect Rules. These motions can be reviewed at http://wp.me/pdWLh-8p1 and http://wp.me/pdWLh-8p5. I sent them within the 72-hour period specified by Rule 12.2. Americans Elect has not, as Rule 12.2 describes posted these motions for review and support-voting by delegates. Nobody at Americans Elect has even written back to me.
I’m following the Americans Elect Rules as a delegate, but to no avail. Will Americans Elect post to these motions as required by Rule 12.2? Will Americans Elect write back to me with a response?”
KB: “Hi James, thanks for your support as a delegate. And thank you for your careful reading of our rules. We received your motion within the 72-hour period. It will be posted, and all delegates will have an opportunity to weigh in.”
Q: “Will you be releasing an independent audit for 2011 revenues and expenditures, as you did with 2010? If so, when? Will it be before November, which is when the 2010 report was released? i.e., will it be released when AE is still relevant this election cycle?”
KB: “After our audit is complete this spring, we’ll release our 2011 financials in June of 2012.”