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Americans Elect Cancels its First Primary Ballot — not enough Actual People want their Candidates

Americans Elect has been going on for two years now about how the American people are crying out for centrist solutions and bridge-the-middle policies that offer a combination of Republicanism and Democratism. Americans Elect has been going on about finding the vital center in politics on national television, over national radio, and in our national newspapers, over and over and over again, speaking as if most Americans agreed.

Pew Findings on Economy December 2011Well, most Americans don’t agree. As the Pew Research Center documented in a poll last December, most Americans don’t buy centrist talk. Most Americans — three out of four of them — believe there is “too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations”. Most Americans believe the “country’s economic system unfairly favors the wealthy.” Most Americans “believe Wall Street hurts the economy more than it helps.” These are not centrist positions. They’re not Americans Elect’s positions. The few financiers of Americans Elect whose names have been leaked out are Wall Street money managers and hedge fund operators. Americans Elect spokeswoman Ileana Wachtel last week declared of her organization: “No one at AE can dispute that Mr. Peterson’s message is the right one.” “Mr. Peterson” is billionaire Pete Peterson, who wants to cut social security, cut medicare, cut medicaid and make this country safer for big business.

If Americans Elect’s bridge-the-middle, no-disclosure, no-popular-control, Republicratish approach were even remotely popular, then surely one of the candidates in its presidential nominating system would have attracted the mere 1,000 votes of support in each of 10 states needed to appear on its first presidential nominating ballot.

The deadline for that to happen was today. It didn’t happen. No declared or draft candidate in the Americans Elect system got even half that amount.

And so, as AE Transparency has discovered through repeated phone calls this morning, the first nominating ballot has been cancelled.

There are two more nominating ballots left for which an Americans Elect presidential candidate might qualify. The deadlines to get on those ballots are May 8 and May 15. No Americans Elect candidate is on track to meet those deadlines either.

Americans Elect failed. Not because nobody knew about it. Because nobody wanted it.

Update, 5:00 pm: As John Lumea points out to me in an e-mail message, Americans Elect has — sort of — announced the cancellation of its first round primary vote. I say “sort of” because Americans Elect refuses to use any form of the word “cancelled,” just like Americans Elect won’t name the actual number of candidates who have qualified for its ballot — namely, “zero.” Instead, they’ve chosen some odd euphemisms:

Caucus Schedule Updated

According to our rules, since fewer than seven candidates have received enough support to qualify for the AE nomination, the first caucus scheduled for May 8th will now take place on May 15th.

Remember that right now, you can support as many candidates as you like. Supporting a candidate now just means you want to hear more about them. It doesn’t mean you’re required to vote for them in our primary or the general election. So support candidates today!

It’s not a cancellation — it’s a “schedule update” in which the second caucus will now be the first caucus because “fewer than seven candidates” have gotten enough support to make the ballot. They’re not lying; zero is fewer than seven.

As Lumea pointed out to me, the reference to some “fewer than seven” standard in the Americans Elect rules is pretty odd, because if you follow that link to the rules, you’ll see there’s actually no such rule. The closest the Rules get to is this:

Rule 7.1 General. If there are 10 or more Declared Candidates and Draft Candidates in total, three Primary Rounds of voting for the office of President of the United States shall be held on the Website. Fewer Primary Rounds may be held in the event of fewer than 10 Declared or Drafted Candidates to attain six candidates for the office of President in the Nominating Round of Voting. The Primary Rounds shall be held on May 8, 2012, May 15, 2012, and May 22, 2012.

As of today there are 27 Declared Candidates and 456 Draft Candidates, making for 473 candidates in total, so that standard’s met. There really should according to the rules be three Primary Rounds held on May 8, 15 and 22. Americans Elect has made up the “fewer than seven candidates have received enough support” standard out of thin air.

Not one of the 473 Americans Elect candidates is on track to make any of those ballots. The top declared candidate, Buddy Roemer, has accumulated 2175 supporters from his top 10 states since the end of January 2012. The top draft candidate, Ron Paul, has accumulated 4518 supporters from his top 10 states since the end of January 2012. Each needs 10,000 from his top 10 states. A few more weeks at this rate isn’t going to accomplish that end for either candidate, and all the other candidates are doing worse.

If you build it, and it isn’t what the people want, then no, they won’t come.

25 thoughts on “Americans Elect Cancels its First Primary Ballot — not enough Actual People want their Candidates”

  1. AETransparency says:

    Although the idea of a “non-partisan” political party is an oxymoron, and although the notion of “centrism” is a swamp-gas mirage (central to what?), we think there’s another reason for Americans Elect’s epic fail rather than simply “Because nobody wanted it.” We think a LOT of people wanted ‘digital democracy’ and the many benefits it can bring. We think a LOT of people wanted a way to choose a candidate who isn’t just another slippery shape-shifting ideologue. We think a LOT of people wanted the putrefying influence of shadowy big money out of politics. We think AECorp failed because it failed to even attempt to deliver any of those things, but instead focused its efforts on buying Peter Ackerman a couple of votes in the next Electoral College via a slick democracy-theater production. We think a perhaps surprising number of American voters aren’t idiots. Pete Ackerman doesn’t. That’s why Americans Elect Corporation failed.

  2. Jerry Thomas says:

    You may be wrong! The two party system is clearly not serving us!

  3. Joyce McCloy says:

    Experts say internet voting is not such a good idea

    What about Internet voting? Dr. Rebecca Mercuri.
    Internet voting is risky due to its sociological and technological problems. Absentee balloting does not provide the safeguards of freedom from coercion and vote selling that are afforded via local precincts. Internet voting creates additional problems due to the inability of service providers to assure that websites are not spoofed, denial of service attacks do not occur, balloting is recorded accurately and anonymously, and votes are cast by the appropriate person.

    1. Benjamin Barber says:

      The same concerns that you have with electronic voting, is also the concerns of electronic currencies like bit-coin, however the bit-coin system is secure down to the end user. Its not impossible to secure the end client, but many clients opt not to use them, and thus become vulnerable to attack.

      in fact what about traditional voting is more secure than internet voting, people do get regularly disenfrancised by it, and the votes are manipulated despite exit polling (itself corruptable). Who is to say that I couldn’t produce a an E-ink ID card from stolen data, and then go and vote for a multitude of people. Even fingerprints can be spoofed with high quality 3d printers, and its not as if we can do DNA tests of every person

      In reality a trusted computing model, with a fingerprint + password authentication + previous transaction token

      1. Dave K says:

        Of course one significant difference between real voting and online voting is that when you cancel a real election you actually have to tell people and deal with the consequences, like angry fist shaking crowds, TV cameras, and untold scrutiny as to why on earth the election wasn’t held .

        As we are witnessing with AE’s election cancellation, they aren’t telling the voters squat, so there are no crowds, no cameras, and the only scrutiny they get is by a few geeks like us.

        Online voting, especially if conducted by a shadowy, totally untrustworthy corporation, comes nowhere near the integrity of actual people casting actual ballots on the day or days the election is actually supposed to take place.

        1. Charles Manning (manning120) says:

          I thought voting on AE was about getting names on ballots other than the major party nominees. That’s different from a state, local, or federal official election, or even a primary election. No one has ever explained to me how participating in AE could help someone get his/her name on the ballot for an official election. It seems like a good idea, but obviously AE didn’t carry it out. I’m wondering now if the opportunity to put non-major party nominees on official ballots has been lost.

        2. Joshua says:

          Charles: In theory, participating in AE should help get somebody’s name on the ballot in an official election. At last report, AE had qualified to get its eventual presidential candidate on the November ballot in 25 states, which is good for a third-party effort at this time of the year. They are working on other states, and I don’t think they have missed the deadline in any of the remaining states. So if somebody gets the AE nomination, that person will not have to devote all their resources to getting on the November ballot — they will probably have to spend some money, but not as much as they would need to spend if they were running as an independent or with a weaker party.

        3. Joshua says:

          And to clarify my earlier point, I mean that the overall effort of participating in AE in general should help get somebody’s name on the November ballot — not necessarily any particular individual’s participation, which might wind up going for naught.

  4. Ralph says:

    So they told AE Transparency, by phone, that the first caucus round has been cancelled.

    And yet, as of 3:15pm Eastern Standard time 5/1/1012, their Candidates Page still has a banner reading “6 days left until caucus round 1.”

    Which, um, might give the casual user the misimpression that there was going to BE a caucus round in six days, which, according to what they told somebody on the phone, there isn’t…

    …this is starting to look a LOT like the way Unity 08 fizzled out, leaving out a derelict website that concluded much later that the vote they promised was never going to happen.

    Now the million dollar question: What are all those state ballots going to look like? Are we to really believe Americans Elect will leave the name blank?

    I can’t wait to see how that pans out, but given this cast of clowns you just KNOW it’s going to be something zany!

    1. Adlib says:

      Unsurprisingly, Ackerman was involved with Unity 08 too. He has clearly been trying to set up a wolf in centrist’s clothing for some time and apparently thought the “sheep” were dumb enough to be led to slaughter. This welcome fail affirms that Americans are not as ignorant as these elitists seem to think and that putting lipstick on a greedy pig doesn’t make it look like anything other than that to most Americans.

      There is frustration with the gridlock of our current system but in truth, limiting the filibuster could go a long way towards resolving that…though getting money out of politics would have the biggest impact.

      Farewell Americans Elect, we hardly knew ya…because you wanted it that way.

  5. Daniel H says:

    Your comments are like that South Park episode where Stan finds out that the home shopping channel is selling cheap jewelry at high price to old senile people, and Stan justs starts calling in to tell the seller to go kill himself repeatedly.

    Anyway I seriously doubt that Americans Elect will shut down. They will still be here just as the Libertarian and the Green party and the Constitution Party will be here in November even if THEY don’t have a damn chance of winning either.

    1. AETransparency says:

      Funny you should mention the Home Shopping Channel. We have a crazy theory regarding how this whole story ends up which reminds us more than a little of HSC. We’ll be discussing it tomorrow (Wednesday) night in our special “Weakly Voting Finale” on Even if the vote is going to go on, and on, and on, we’re wrapping up our weakly coverage because there’s only so many ways you can say “nothing happened again this week.”

      Unless, of course, we decide to reschedule our Finale post to come a few posts later….

  6. Ralph says:

    Hah! So they have announced an “update” to their “caucus schedule,” but that banner on their landing page AND their Candidates page STILL says “6 days left until caucus round 1.”

    Apparently these days $9,000,000.00 just doesn’t buy you web guys who can walk and chew gum at the same time any more.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      But they’ll be able to run the election just fine.

    2. benjamin barber says:

      not at the average billable rate of $300/hr in NYC, by the marketing firm that handles the work.

      1. John Lumea says:

        And exactly who is this “marketing firm.”

        As someone who lived in New York for a dozen years, and whose own stock-in-trade is branding / communications / PR, I’m dying to know….

        1. Bill says:

          John, that $300 per hour web team is LBi:

        2. John Lumea says:

          Thanks for that info, Bill.

          Love that this firm’s tagline is “Building Believable Brands.”

          But the name they gave their campaign for Hendrick’s Gin is a better fit for Americans Elect: “The Curiositorium.”

        3. Bill says:

          Ironic that LBi’s goal for this campaign was “To build a successful platform that the American public couldn’t ignore.” This probably didn’t help their chances of winning a gold CLIO for their AECorp campaign.

      2. John Lumea says:

        Wonder what Michael Doody’s contribution was.

        1. Bill says:


    3. benjamin barber says:

      What i mean to say, is that $9M doesn’t go far, when your paying a marketing firm at the average NYC rate of $300/hr, 14 man years may seems fairly reasonable for a large and complex IT system.

      And then to top it off any “design by committee” effort, IE (Ideas come from AE, design comes from marketing, programming from from IT), will end up taking considerably more time to implement.

  7. Richard Grayson, Supreme Leader, Arizona Americans Elect Party says:

    The Arizona Americans Elect Party is now actively seeking write-in candidates for our party’s fabulous primaries this August! Any Arizona voter who’s a party member can run as a write-in candidate (you can register from June 1-July 17, and we’ll help you), and if you get a plurality of the votes in your race, you’ve won the party’s nomination and will be listed on the November ballot along with Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Green Party candidates. We are the cool new party in town and everyone is welcome!

    1. Rick says:

      I wouldn’t even log on to that scam with my IP address, let alone give them any personal information. Look at the track record of the ballot access firm they hired as it relates to their actions on the internet and the relationship between that and the contact information of every registered voter in California.

  8. Adlib says:

    Just a note to give props where they’re do, to Jim Cook and the Irregular Times crew for their great work in helping expose the fraud that is Americans Elect.

    I was very concerned about them last year when Obama’s approvals were down and the GOP race looked like a train wreck, there might have been some room for them to slip into the mix. But with the economy improving and Obama’s approvals rising with them, the oxygen got sucked out of the room and poor AE was left gasping for its existence.

    At the same time, your persistent reporting on them has helped keep that door closed for them and the results of all of this is very satisfying.

    Thanks for the great work!

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