You may have been approached by a representative from Americans Elect asking you to sign their ballot access petition. The group is trying to get a spot on every state ballot in the nation so they can run their own candidate in the 2012 election. Technically, they’re a third party, but they’re not operating in typical third party fashion. They describe themselves as nonpartisan and, at the moment, they don’t have a candidate. What they do have is a process.
Americans Elect will hold an online nominating convention starting in the spring of 2012. After three rounds, six candidates will be left. To qualify for the party’s nomination, each of them will have to choose a running mate from another party. For example, Democrats will choose Republicans, and vice versa. But each candidate will also have the option to choose an independent, who has not sworn allegiance to any party.
To some, Americans Elect seems like a refreshing answer to political gridlock. Others are skeptical about the group’s motives and their financing, or worried that their effort will end up being nothing less than a gimmick that will serve as an election spoiler for one of the major parties.
Americans Elect has successfully gained ballot access in a handful of states, including California, which required over 1 million signatures. And now, they’re in Oregon.
Have you been approached to sign a ballot access petition for Americans Elect? How did you decide whether or not to sign? Would you participate in an online convention to choose a presidential candidate? What questions do you have for Americans Elect?
- Kellen Arno: National field director for Americans Elect
- Paul Gronke: Political science professor and director of the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College