Americans Elect Responds to Delegate Revolt with Rules violation and a Lawsuit Threat
On May 17, the 501c4 corporation Americans Elect announced that it would cancel its planned privatized presidential nomination. Why? Because too few registered voters showed an interest in participating in a system that gave ultimate candidate selection authority to a self-selected corporate board.
Two days later, on May 19, a grassroots-organized and inclusive new group called Americans of Americans Elect was trying to organize on the Internet. This new group petitioned Americans Elect to either re-open its presidential nomination process or, failing that, to let the delegates take over the organization and ready it for future elections:
Americans of Americans Elect formally submitted a petition on May 20 to reverse the decision of the Americans Elect board to shut down. This petition is in accordance with Rule 12.2, and requires a response by Americans Elect:
“any Delegate who wishes to reverse any decision of any Committee or Board may do so by sending a statement of 500 words or less by email to the Board within 72 hours after notice of any decision is posted on the Website. The Board shall then post the statement on the Website with instructions that any Delegate who agrees with reversal shall ‘Support Click’ the statement…. This process of Reversal Votes shall be the sole and exclusive remedy for any Delegate aggrieved by any action, conduct, or failure to act of Americans Elect.”
As you can see here, Americans Elect failed to follow its own rules. It neglected to post the group’s statement petitioning for reversal. It violated its own rules by failing to hold the required Reversal Vote. This is the latest in a long list of anti-democratic actions by Americans Elect.
What did Americans Elect do instead? After the delegate group voiced its interest in taking over the Americans Elect process and using it for grassroots democracy in future elections, Americans Elect sent a letter to the Florida Division of Elections, which you can search for here (see date 5/24/2012), or which you can read for yourself here. In this letter, Americans Elect notifies the Florida Division of Elections that it has a trademark for the name “Americans Elect” and threatens to sue any group attempting to use Americans Elect ballot lines in any movement for political office not authorized by the corporate board:
“any state-based chapter or committee must be authorized by the Americans Elect Board… any nominations for offices other than President and vice President would not be authorized or sanctioned by Americans Elect according to its Bylaws. Finally, please note that Americans Elect is the owner of a federal trademark for the AMERICANS ELECT mark. Any non-authorized use of the mark is likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception in violation of state and federal trademark law, including 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), entitling Americans Elect to immediate and permanent injuctive relief, an accounting of profits, and attorneys’ fees.”
To the last, Americans Elect is a corporate entity, using corporate privilege and corporate threats, determined to control the actions of the annoying little people who might have something else in mind.