Americans Elect: Fact Check of Kahlil Byrd’s May 15 Statement Presaging a Rule Change
After the failure of any Americans Elect candidate to meet has released a statement of one of its founding officers, Kahlil Byrd. The statement follows, interrupted in another font with annotated fact checking. Links labeled “source” will direct you to sources supporting the conclusions of the fact check.
Statement by Americans Elect CEO Kahlil Byrd
Over the past two years, Americans Elect has focused on achieving three clear goals:
Gaining nationwide ballot access for a third presidential ticket to compete in the 2012 race;
Holding the first ever nonpartisan secure national online primary at AmericansElect.org; and
Fielding a credible, balanced, unaffiliated ticket for the 2012 presidential race.
Through the efforts of thousands of staffers, volunteers, and leadership, Americans Elect has achieved every stated operational goal.
Americans Elect has not yet "gained nationwide ballot access." The latest news release by Americans Elect on the subject, just a few days ago, declares that Americans Elect has ballot access in 27 states (source). Ballot access was gained through paid signature gatherers (source), not a grassroots wave of supporters.
Americans Elect also has not "fielded a credible, balanced, unaffiliated ticket for the 2012 presidential race." That is why Kahlil Byrd released this statement. Three Americans Elect ballots have gone empty because no candidate has reached the required 1,000 votes of support in each 10 states for political insiders and 5,000 votes of support in each of 10 states for political outsiders (source | source). The closest any candidate came to reaching either of those standards was Ron Paul, who as of 5:00 this morning had obtained 48.9% of the required votes after months as a draft candidate (source).
Statement by Americans Elect CEO Kahlil Byrd, Continued
Despite these efforts, as of today, no candidate has reached the national support threshold required to enter the “Americans Elect Online Convention” this June. (Read a detailed summary of the AE process here and the full rules here.)
Because of this, under the rules that AE delegates ratified, the primary process would end today. There is, however, an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process.
Kahlil Byrd cannot credibly state that "there is, however, an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process." There are multiple reasons to believe this is untrue.
Kahlil Byrd declares that there are "millions of Americans who have supported AE" who want to "see a credible candidate emerge from this process." If this were true, then there would be millions of Americans who acted to see a credible candidate emerge from the process by casting votes to put candidates on the Americans Elect ballot. There have not been millions of Americans casting vote in the Americans Elect process. The top ten declared candidates, put together, have only received 14,399 votes expressing support for their placement on an Americans Elect ballot (source) -- and as Americans Elect points out in a recent e-mail, a single person can cast "as many [votes] as you like now" (source).
Americans Elect has a record of hyperinflating its claims of support, a reason to disregard Byrd's claim here. Americans Elect has repeatedly claimed it has "400,000 delegates" (source | source | source), but in the Americans Elect system delegates are not merely those who have visited a website or liked Americans Elect on Facebook. According to the official Americans Elect Bylaws, delegates are those who have signed up for an account on the website, then agreed to become delegates, and then had their identity and voter registration successfully verified (source). John Lumea has written a careful accounting of the Americans Elect delegate system, showing that Americans Elect could not possibly have had 400,000 delegates when it claimed it did (source). What Americans Elect actually has is 466,000 Facebook Fans (source). This is hyperbole on the part of Americans Elect.
Another reason I know that Kahlil Byrd is not making an accurate claim is that I am an Americans Elect delegate. As an Americans Elect delegate, I have received a number of Americans Elect mailings every week asking me in increasing desperation to participate in the ballot access vote that just expired. I have received not a single in-person solicitation, mail, text message, phone call or communication of any kind asking me what I "desire" to "emerge from this process." Are you an Americans Elect delegate? Have you received any inquiry from Americans Elect asking you what you would like to see "emerge from this process?" Let me know in the comments section to this post. Kahlil Byrd cannot possibly know what the "almost universal desire among delegates" is unless he's assessed it. There's no evidence he has.
In evidence to the contrary, four days ago Roger Ryan made a motion and put advertisements up around the Internet asking people to second his motion to shelve the current official Americans Elect rules and let candidates on the Americans Elect ballot anyway. Fewer than 25 people have seconded Roger Ryan's motion (source). If there really are "400,000 delegates" as Americans Elect dubiously claims, that's an awfully low level of support -- about the opposite of "universal."
Statement by Americans Elect CEO Kahlil Byrd, Continued
Every step of the way, AE has conferred with its community before making major decisions. We will do the same this week before determining next steps for the immediate future. AE will announce the results of these conversations on Thursday, May 17.
As always, we thank everyone who has participated in this effort and will honor the work, efforts and trust so many people have placed in Americans Elect.
Americans Elect has not "conferred with its community before making major decisions." On the contrary, it has repeatedly refused to communicate with its own delegates. After creating a "Get Satisfaction" portal on which it said it would answer questions, it has simply refused to answer the large majority of them (source | source | source | source). There is no feature on the Americans Elect website allowing delegates to comment to Americans Elect's blog posts (source). When it hosts "chats," it tends to only take supportive questions, ignoring critical questions (source). Although Americans Elect nominally has a process in its Official Rules that allows delegates to reverse decisions of its corporate board through a majority vote of all delegates, it gives delegates only 48 hours to respond refuses to tell delegates that a vote is occurring, which means that it is impossible for delegates to mount an actual reversal (source | source). Americans Elect simply informs its delegates of its decisions after they have been made by its corporate board (source).
To be fair, perhaps Kahlil Byrd's statement about "Americans Elect conferring with its community" is accurate if by "community" Byrd means to include its large money donors and corporate board, but not its delegates. But if this is true, then Americans Elect needs to stop referring to itself as a "grassroots movement" (source).