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Formal Petition for Reversal of Americans Elect Bylaw 5.6

The following is the full text of a formal petition for reversal of Americans Elect Bylaw 5.6. Rule 12.2 requires me to send the petition to the Board of Directors of Americans Elect, but Americans Elect has not published any e-mail address for the Board of Directors, so I have sent it to as many individual members of the Americans Elect Board of Directors as have leaked out, plus as many members of the Americans Elect senior staff as is possible (again given the spotty publication of their e-mail addresses). I have, as completely as is possible, complied with the letter and spirit of Rule 12.2 in submitting the motion.

[Full Text of 474-Word Reversal Petition Begins Here]

My name is James Cook. I am User #385, a fully verified Americans Elect Delegate. In this statement, I formally invoke my rights under Rule 12.2 to call for the reversal of the decision by the Americans Elect Board of Directors to amend Bylaw 5.6 on March 5. Notice of this amendment was first formally posted by the Board of Directors on March 16 2012 at This call for reversal is therefore made within the required 72-hour period after the decision is posted.

The previous version of Bylaw 5.6 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 Bylaw 5.6 posted March 16 updates 5.6 by adding this clause to its end:

, 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.

I call for the specific reversal of the decision to add this clause. I am aggrieved by the clause because it takes away my ability as a delegate to choose who will be on the Americans Elect ballot, and instead places power in the hands of the Candidate Certification Committee, whose members are selected non-democratically by the Americans Elect Board of Directors, whose members in turn appointed themselves.

I am also aggrieved because, if Americans Elect follows the course of the last delegate vote as described at, it will suppress the vote by:

1. Publishing the reversal petition as a file buried under three layers of links;

2. Giving delegates only 48 hours to discover and vote on the petition;

3. Refusing to send delegates an e-mail, to allow the petitioner to send his own e-mail to delegates, or to post an item in its “news” section revealing the existence of the petition vote;

4. Refusing when asked (and I’m asking again now) for a means on the website a delegate so I could send a direct message to other delegates informing them of the vote. No such means exists.

5. Publishing the petition in a special .pdf format that cannot be copied and pasted by a reader or indexed by a search engine… a format that Americans Elect does not use for its other .pdf files.

Unless Americans Elect alters its response to reversal petitions, delegates will never know the petition votes exist and the votes will be guaranteed to fail. This is not what democracy looks like.

[Full Text of 474-Word Reversal Petition Ends Here]

12 thoughts on “Formal Petition for Reversal of Americans Elect Bylaw 5.6”

  1. Ralph says:

    Just for fun, knowing it was there, I gave myself ten minutes on the Americans Elect website to see if I could find this document. Well hidden, Americans Elect.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Oh, there’s the thing. See…

      Update: a day later, Americans Elect hasn’t even posted this petition, as it’s required to do under Rule 12.2.

      Will it manage to do so by tomorrow? Stay tuned, Ralph.

      1. Juniper says:

        Rules are for us plebes, Jim. Americans Elect leaders are above the rules.

        1. John Lumea says:

          Another example of what University of British Columbia politics professor Mark Warren calls “duplicitous exclusion” — in which “the norm of inclusion is not denied, but rather corrupted.”

          Check out “America’s Elect” — George Washington University politics professor Henry Farrell’s excellent piece on Americans Elect, by way of a response to Lawrence Lessig.

  2. John Lumea says:

    The reversal motion went up, this afternoon — but is being “presented” using exactly the same Vogon tactics as before.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      That’s right, John. For those who don’t know, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Vogon fleet blew up the Earth after keeping notice of the pending destruction hidden in a file cabinet in a disused lavatory on Alpha Centauri. The Earthlings had plenty of notice.

      All the tactics noted in the post above are being used all over again by Americans Elect to suppress notice of the vote. The vote will fail miserably as a result, as I noted in the post. I want to make record of that here. This is how Americans Elect treats the democratic process. This is why you should not trust Americans Elect leaders.

      1. John Lumea says:

        Apparently, Josh Levine is doing a little 45-minute “hangout” tomorrow on Google Plus with Judy Woodruff of PBS — starting at 3 pm Eastern.

        Info about how to submit questions is here.

  3. Steven says:

    And on the second vote, they had 6 so far.

    What’s the over/under on the first caucus vote turnout? 1,000 total?

  4. Jim Cook says:

    The 48 hour window for the above petition just closed.

    This was the second official vote completed in the Americans Elect process.

    As in the first Americans Elect completed vote, Americans Elect suppressed the vote, in the manners described in the post above.

    As a result, only 20 people total voted on it.

    Americans Elect has now hidden this vote total.
    Americans Elect has also hidden the vote total of its first completed vote, which obtained only 7 participants.

    I specifically asked in the first and second petition process for Americans Elect to contact delegates and inform them that a vote was going on. Americans Elect refused to do this, or even to respond to my request.

    I specifically asked in the first and second petition process for a means by which I could contact delegates myself. Americans Elect refused to provide this means, or even to respond to my request.

    Any further petitions to Americans Elect will be useless, because Americans Elect has ensured that its delegate votes are shams.

    This is not what democracy looks like, and Americans Elect is not acting like an institution interested in democracy. It’s acting like a corporate board trying to maintain its vision of order. That’s what Americans Elect actually is.

    1. John Lumea says:

      Notice that — as before — the recently challenged Board decision has been “Approved,” not merely “Adopted.”

      “Voter suppression? What voter suppression?!! I don’t see any voter suppression. Do you see any voter suppression? Our delegates love us (and our decisions)!!!”

  5. John Lumea says:


    For the record…

    During the 48-hour windows for both reversal motions, I too sent emails to Americans Elect Board and staff members, requesting that the Board inform all delegates — via email blast — of (1) the substance the Board decision, (2) the substance of the challenge, (3) Rule 12.2 and (4) where to go at to exercise their rights under that Rule.

    I also pointed out that — whether or not there has been a delegate challenge — the Board is responsible to alert delegates to its decisions, and is responsible to do so concurrently with the decision.

    I’ve had no response.

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