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Americans Elect Spokesperson Acknowledges Big Lie: Delegate Count inflated by at least 400%

In the all-online corporate privatized presidential nomination effort called Americans Elect, there are different levels of participation:

1. Facebook Fan: someone who “likes” Americans Elect on Facebook. As of this morning, 466,625 people have “liked” Americans Elect on Facebook.

2. Account holder: someone who signed up for an account at americanselect.com. Americans Elect has never revealed how many people hold an account at americanselect.com.

3. Delegate: According to the official Americans Elect bylaws, delegates are not mere Facebook fans or account holders. Delegates are people who have signed up for accounts, and then “have submitted sufficient information to permit verification of their lawful status as registered voters and citizens of the United States, and who have been so verified by Americans Elect, and who have accepted the Delegate Pledge as provided by the Rules Committee.”

On February 2 2012, under the signature of Americans Elect National Press Secretary Ileana Wachtel, Americans Elect issued a press release declaring that “The candidate page enables Americans Elect delegates – now numbering more than 360,000 – to bypass the two-party primary process, identify and draft candidates who share their concerns, and have their voices heard regardless of where they live.”

On March 28 2012, again under the signature of Americans Elect National Press Secretary Ileana Wachtel, Americans Elect issued another press release declaring that “To date, there have been over 2.9 million visitors to the site, 19 million questions answered, over 400,000 delegates and over 460,000 Facebook fans.” (This count indicates that over the past two months, Americans Elect’s Facebook fanbase has been stagnant.)

On March 29 2012, again under the signature of Americans Elect National Press Secretary Ileana Wachtel, Americans Elect issued another press release declaring that “Americans Elect is inviting every registered voter to sign up at AmericansElect.org to join over 400,000 delegates to choose the ticket that will serve as a serious alternative to the two major parties and be on the ballot nationwide this November.”

On April 17 2012, again under the signature of Americans Elect National Press Secretary Ileana Wachtel, Americans Elect issued another press release declaring that “To date, there have been 3 million visitors to the site, 19 million questions answered, over 400,000 delegates have signed up and there are over 460,000 Facebook fans.” (This count indicates that approximately 100,000 people visited the website americanselect.com in a one month period. For purposes of comparison, this only modestly-popular website had 82,231 unique visitors in the month of March.)

In March, John Lumea carefully showed how these claims by Americans Elect could not possibly be true.

Now Will Evans of California Watch has caught Wachtel acknowledging that Americans Elect’s prior claims are not true:

Even Americans Elect die-hards had their share of gripes. One of the main complaints was that prospective voters had a hard time registering as delegates through the website.

Risley said the Americans Elect model gave her “hope for the first time in a long time.” But as she held campaign gatherings at her home and reached out to like-minded activists at Occupy protests, she became frustrated with the group’s online system. Some supporters couldn’t get through the site’s intensive verification of whether they were registered voters or didn’t want to provide the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, she said.

“Why make it so hard for people?” Risley said.

Ileana Wachtel, Americans Elect’s press secretary, said only 300 out of tens of thousands of people had problems with the website that couldn’t be resolved, mostly because of inaccurate voter registration data.

“When dealing with voters most precious franchise, the vote, there cannot be any compromise on the issue of security,” she said in an e-mail.

Only 300 out of “tens of thousands” had trouble registering as delegates? Tens of thousands? Counting generously, that means less than a hundred thousand people registered as delegates. If less than a hundred thousand people registered as delegates, that means Americans Elect inflated its delegate count in publicity materials by at least 400% — and most likely by more.

Why does this matter?

It matters because Americans Elect wanted to be the first corporation in the history of America to run its own privatized online presidential nomination — and it wanted to count the votes. Americans Elect has just shown it can’t be trusted to produce an accurate count.

It matters because Americans Elect may have failed in the 2012 elections, but you can bet that it will come back, just like it changed its name from Unity08 and came back after its even bigger failure in the 2008 cycle. Americans Elect will tell people that it’s the solution to a corrupt political system. With its delegate count lie, situated among dozens of other incidents, Americans Elect has shown that it is not the solution.

9 comments to Americans Elect Spokesperson Acknowledges Big Lie: Delegate Count inflated by at least 400%

  • Jeff Kelly

    Just another “corrupt” institution competing with the two-party corrupt corporation known as the Republicrats or Demublicans. AE tried, AE failed. What is your solution?

  • The true number of delegates comes into even sharper focus, if you line up Wachtel’s “only 300 out of tens of thousands of people” with another mathematical clue attributed to Wachtel and first reported on 9 May by Jonathan Tilove of the Times-Picayune:

    …Wachtel said that “less than 1 percent have tried and failed to register”….

    If the total number of delegates was “over 400,000,” then “less than 1 percent” would be a number in the neighborhood of 4,000.

    But this is nowhere close to 300.

    If — as it seems reasonable to deduce — “only 300″ corresponds to “less than 1 percent,” then the total number of delegates is just north of 30,000.

    This tracks well with the fact that there is a total of only about 50,000 “support clicks” in the entire Americans Elect system and that delegates were permitted to click for as many candidates as they wished.

    • If the math I’m suggesting here is correct, then Americans Elect has been inflating its delegate count by something closer to 1,333%.

      Another little footnote re Americans Elect’s pushing a slippery definition of “delegate”…

      In his video chat with Judy Woodruff on 20 March, Josh Levine said (video starting at 2:45):

      What we ask people to do is join up as delegates — when you come to our Web site, we call users “delegates” — when you come to the Web site, join up as a delegate; learn about yourself by finding out about your Priorities and the issues; and then find out what candidates match up to you….

      • The obvious caveat, of course, is that these calculations work, only if Wachtel is being truthful with both of the numbers she offers.

        Either way: The verifiable estimate of the total number of support clicks in the system is ~50,000.

        The further the delegate count moves away from 50,000 and toward 0, the more believable — and, actually, better for Americans Elect — it gets, as such a count suggests a smaller number of true believers who persevered to be verified and then went on to click support for one or more candidates.

        As the delegate count approaches and surpasses 50,000, it would seem to get less believable, since — especially if one assumes that some significant number of delegates did click for multiple candidates — such a count suggests a higher and higher number of people who went to all the trouble of getting verified and then did nothing with their empowered status.

  • You can add to your list this 13 March press release — which, like the others, is over Ileana Wachtel’s official signature. It says:

    Americans Elect delegates, which now total more than 400,000 and counting, can draft and support a presidential candidate of their choice and nominate a presidential ticket that will appear on general election ballots nationwide this November.

  • Charles Manning (manning120)

    This is the message I got from AE on April 23, after being unable to get through their registration process and clicking on their support tag:
    “Hi Charles,
    “Thanks for your message. To help ensure the authenticity of the vote,
    all identity verification must be done through the website.
    All delegates are given three chances to verify their
    identity.Unfortunately, people who fail the verification process three
    times are no longer eligible to participate
    in the primary. This is to ensure a secure and reliable process.
    “Best,
    “The AE Team”
    I have no idea how many others have experienced this, but I would think 300 is a gross understatement. I was given no assistance with the problem. This proves the entire program is fraudulent. I’ve been a registered voter for about 50 years and no one has ever prevented me from voting in an election in any manner, let alone like this. Of course, I realize this wasn’t an official election. But clearly the organizers of AE can’t be trusted.

  • Astute Dent

    Major verification failure was the entirely predictable consequence of the chosen verification method. Being run by the extremely wealthy, it should come as no surprise that they were unconcerned that their system from the outset was designed to run roughshod over the franchise of the already disenfranchised. In the aggregate it was mightily biased against the poor who do not have the sort of solid credit reports Americans Elect drew its verification data from. Most egregiously, current and former military personnel could be expected to disproportionately excluded by the “choose your former address” identity challenge technique. The American people deserve an honest accounting of what the actual numbers were. Without that at a minimum, and a completely overhauled verification process in the future, no one should deal seriously with such a system ever again.

  • There are many pieces to this puzzle. Wachtel only reports what she is told. The ultimate source of the numbers that went through the verification process is the vendor that did the verifications. It is a company called Aristotle: http://www.aristotle.com/political-data
    That is, according to THIS document:
    http://static.americanselect.org/sites/files/official-documents/an_online_nominating_caucus_and_convention.pdf
    (p.5, note 10)
    Kahlil first reported the 1% number:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/qk96k/im_kahlil_byrd_ceo_of_americans_elect_the_first/c3ya9ov
    We don’t know a) if 1% is true, and b) what number the 1% is of. But the exact numbers do exist. They are in the Aristotle logs. Those logs show exactly how many people tried to get verified, who they are, and who (like me) failed and who passed. No one can know for sure even if Kahlil and Wachtel have been told the truth. Aristotle made tens of thousands of dollars on this process. Alice Skelton wrote on the delegate FB page that three tries were all anyone got because AE pays on a per try basis, and they picked the arbitrary number 3 just to cut expenses. There is only ONE way to ever know the truth about the verification numbers. That is, if AE sues Aristotle for breach of contract. Then in the discovery process Aristotle will have to disclose its logs for AE inspection. Aristotle won’t lie in discovery, or the judge could fine/jail its executives. Probably, the exact number of delegates, and of how many tried, passed, or failed to get verified is something only Aristotle will ever know for sure – not even Kahlil or the Ackermans will truly know those numbers.

    William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
    Internetvoting@gmail.com
    Blog: http://tinyurl.com/IV4All
    Twitter: wjkno1
    Author: Internet Voting Now!

  • I began tracking the number of postings on their Facebook page back in October and November and found that there were less than 30,000 active Facebookers. Many of those Facebookers were students and foreigners. When I decided to run, it was based on the realization that there might only be about 10-15,000 active participants, a very small core group that could be swayed by a series of policies rather than just personalities. I made strong efforts to build supporters during November when we expected the campaigning to begin. I was under the impression, that the same Facebookers would be given access to a Facebook like page that allowed them to express support. However, AE delayed the process to mid-December. From Nov 1 to mid-December, nothing happened and I lost all my momentum. Further, I expressed to the AE Board that a mid-December timetable was suicide because they only gave us 30 days to meet the deadline and I would not be willing to declare until after January 1st. When they agreed to extend the deadline to 90 days, it seemed doable but then they delayed, delayed, and delayed and it wasn’t until early February that we could start. This downtime from November 1 to February 1st cost us the ability to generate support. Until I was posted on the candidate page, people were not sure how real I was. At that point, people were more focused on other issues and few if any were willing to participate. I watched the daily support clicks and after one month decided that only about 8 to 10,000 people were participating. When I contacted the board about changing the requirments, they said no, I believed them and knew that short of some very serious money to conduct a national campaign, no one would win the nomination. I largely stopped my efforts and put my campaign on autopilot. When signing up delegates, I had a 42% failure rate, 300 problems, that’s a big lie. The program failed because it was not a process, it was an effort at creating a new moderate party masking itself as an open process. The board should resign and the delegates should choose new leadership from among the candidates and delegates for 2014.

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