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Americans Elect Steps Up Attacks on Democracy: Now a Corporate Board Decides Who’s On and Off the Ballot

[A tip of the pen to Bill Busa for alerting me to the change in bylaws.]

Disenfranchisement. Oligarchy. Plutocracy. These are now the official principles of Americans Elect.

Americans Elect is a 501c4 corporation funded by Wall Street hedge fund executives that is trying to run its own online privatized presidential nomination in 2012. Until now the Americans Elect corporate board has paid lip service to the idea of democracy within the Americans Elect process. That changed today. With the publication of new bylaws, Americans Elect has taken the vote away from its delegates and placed ballot access in the hands of an unelected, untouchable corporate board.

The Candidate Certification Committee
In the Americans Elect system described by the bylaws, an American citizen is supposed to be able to make a choice — but only between alternatives that the Americans Elect corporation deems acceptable. The self-appointed Americans Elect corporate Board of Directors is to appoint a Candidate Certification Committee, which serves at the corporate board’s pleasure, can be reshuffled at the corporate board’s will, and is empowered to reject candidates that it does not consider suitable. Certification doesn’t sound so bad, but it has a complement: decertification, exclusion, ejection. This is a Candidate Ejection Committee.

This committee, appointed by the Americans Elect Board of Directors (which in turn is only appointed by itself), will decide whether presidential aspirants may have the privilege of ballot access or not.

The previous version of the Official Corporate Bylaws of Americans Elect had this to say about the power of the corporate-appointed Candidate Certification Committee and the power of delegates to overturn its decisions:

Section 5.6. Committee Override by Delegate Vote. Any decision of the Platform of Questions Committee or the Candidate Certification Committee shall be nullified by a majority vote of all registered Delegates, except that a maximum of three candidates for President and three candidates for Vice President may be placed on the ballot by Delegate nullification.

The new version of the Official Corporate Bylaws of Americans Elect posted today has this to say about the power of the corporate-appointed Candidate Certification Committee and the power of delegates to overturn its decisions:

Section 5.6. Committee Override by Delegate Vote. Any decision of the Platform of Questions Committee or the Candidate Certification Committee shall be nullified by a majority vote of all registered Delegates, except that a maximum of three declared candidates for President and three declared candidates for Vice President may be placed on the ballot by Delegate nullification, and except that only a non-unanimous vote of the Candidate Certification Committee regarding contingently qualified candidates may be subject to reversal vote by the Delegates.

There is no record anywhere of any non-unanimous decision made by any committee of Americans Elect. This should not be surprising, considering that every member of every committee of Americans Elect has been appointed directly by just one man, Peter Ackerman, or appointed by Ackerman’s appointees.

Disenfranchisement. Oligarchy. Plutocracy. These are now the official, codified principles of Americans Elect.

Exercising my nominal powers as a delegate, I will be filing a formal petition tonight, moving to reverse this decision. But unless Americans Elect changes its ways, it will repeat the suppression tactics of its first vote, refuse to tell delegates that the petition even exists, stick the petition on a page hidden under three levels of links, wait for these uninformed delegates to not vote on the petition in a very short window of 72 hours, then delete all record of the petition from its website.

With every passing day, Americans Elect looks less and less like a democratic process. More and more, it resembles the Vogon fleet.

12 comments to Americans Elect Steps Up Attacks on Democracy: Now a Corporate Board Decides Who’s On and Off the Ballot

  • Joshua

    The link to the “new version” is the wrong link. It should be to this page.

    • No, Joshua, it’s not the wrong link; it’s exactly what I intended. It’s a link to a mirror on Irregular Times, because I don’t trust Americans Elect to keep its old documents and try to keep at least one copy on our server here for each version.

      • Joshua

        I understand why you would want to keep a mirror of important AE documents here at Irregular Times.

        But the link in the paragraph that says:

        The new version of the Official Corporate Bylaws of Americans Elect posted today has this to say about the power of the corporate-appointed Candidate Certification Committee and the power of delegates to overturn its decisions:

        doesn’t go to a mirror of the new version. It goes to a mirror of the bylaws as of Dec. 19, 2011, the same version linked in the previous paragraph. It ought to go to a page with the bylaws as of Mar. 5, 2012.

  • Bill

    This is just one of several eye-popping changes to a set of bylaws which already were, by any rational standard, shockingly autocratic. It is revealing of the mind-set in the Fortress of Solitude which is Americans Elect Corporation’s board room that the revised bylaws were posted without comment, and without highlighting the changes to the previous version. Any delegate curious to know the New Rules would have to read the old and new documents line-by-line to analyze the changes…easily an hour’s work (I know; I did it) which very, very few people will do. Hiding in plain sight: brilliant.

    Shut up and click, muppets.

  • Daniel H

    Has your dream candidate declared for AmericansElect? Is your dream candidate actually calling on voters to vote for him/her?

    I am a delegate for Buddy Roemer(I supported him before it was “uncool” to you) and he declared and tell people to vote on AE.org. Remember when people claim AE was secretly getting David Walker the nomination? He hasn’t declared and has only a couple hundred votes.

    AE.org even gave people the opportunity to email or send a postcard on Super Choose Day to their dream candidate wanting them to declare.

    If you are thinking of Ron Paul, or Mike Bloomberg, they have 51 days to actually declare. Jill Stein is fine with the Green Party which is gaining ballot access in many states, and Huntsman is rumored to coming aboard.

    The point is, it is the candidates’ decision to join and the only candidate right now with major credentials is actually someone who keeps making sure AmericansElect is on the up-and-up.

    • Oh, I’ve always thought Buddy Roemer was uncool.

      What has Buddy Roemer specifically done to make sure Americans Elect is on the up and up? Specifically?

      • Daniel H

        He stated on facebook he and his staff makes frequent visits to AmericansElect to see if the rumors are true. He said he also demands the AE.org to disclose the donors’ names and CEO Mr. Byrd stated on Reddit AMA that the names will be disclosed in June (yes I know that’s when the nomination are done. Look on your bright side though, enough ammo for opponents to bash him in the final debate).

        Also on Facebook, he said that he suggested they should pay back the secret donors which they are doing, most likely so that the people who gave TOO much don’t ask for anything particular if the winner wins the election. Also Roemer stated that he is even committed to raise money to help pay back those secret donors if he wins the nominations. You can say that is shady while I say that he wants to make sure he doesn’t have any those special donors going public stating they gave more money and getting their way in the election.

        Keep in mind that these were answers to AE Transparency. And yet all that was noticed was his innocently vague statement about how the board is run by well respected CEOs, former governors senators and congressmen. Maybe he thought Mr. Boren of Oklahoma was on the board.

        But hey, politicians lie all the time, right? Then I guess we are just looking for the one candidate who lies the least. Who is that candidate to you?

        • 1. No, Daniel, Kahlil Byrd didn’t say he’d disclose donors in June. Read carefully. He said he’d post Form 990, which doesn’t contain that information.

          2. So Buddy Roemer has privately gone to Americans Elect and demanded boldly that they reform, and Americans Elect has said no, and Buddy Roemer has said, Oh, OK, I’ll run with you anyway! Some backbone there.

          3. If you take out massive startup loans, even if eventually you pay them back, you still owe one to the sources of those massive start-up loans for giving you a kick start.

          I don’t agree with Buddy Roemer’s politics from the get-go. His ethical noodliness further drives me off.

          And NO, in conclusion, Buddy Roemer hasn’t “made sure” that anything about Americans Elect is on the up and up. He’s gone ethically wiggly so he can get some more attention for a few months before he goes away again.

    • Bill

      Darn you, Daniel, I just shot milk and cookies out my nose all over my keyboard. “The only candidate right now with major credentials is actually someone who keeps making sure AmericansElect is on the up-and-up”???? Bullwinkle Buddy Roemer claims he has “demanded” that AECorp reveal its donors. And then, when his “close friend” Pete “Junk Bond” Ackerman simply ignored Buddy’s demand, Buddy just dropped the subject and quitely went back into his corner.

      A “demand” with no follow-through and no consequences is just buffoon bluster.

      Anyway, don’t sweat it; your guy is Dear Leader Ackerman’s current hot date. Unless something better comes along (and what could be better than a compliant blustering toady?) Junk Ackerman will set him up.

  • Steven

    Laws, sausage, and AE bylaws…don’t look too close at how they’re made.

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