Americans Elect is a nonprofit corporation created by billionaire investor Peter Ackerman, who is dissatisfied with politics as usual. The organization's goal is to gain ballot access in all 50 states, paving the way for the ideal presidential candidate - no one knows who - who would work across party lines for the betterment of all people.
The concept is to use the Internet to conduct an online primary in June to nominate presidential and vice presidential candidates from opposite parties who would "work together to develop fresh solutions to the serious challenges facing our country."
Americans Elect seems very civic-minded and techie. Mr. Smith enters the Internet age. This would seem to be a good year for a third candidate. Polls show voters are restless and unhappy with the choices in this year's presidential race. At least that's the theory driving the Americans Elect effort to help a third major candidate, to be determined, get on the ballot.
But there are hard political realities, like trying to recruit top-tier candidates to try something that has never been tried, and trying to generate voter interest when there are no high-profile candidates. And then there is the matter of creating a campaign organization in a matter of months. Winning candidates spend years developing their networks.
Not wanting to jump to conclusions, I posed some questions to the organization: What is AE's explanation for the lagging numbers of people supporting candidates? How many people have signed up to be so-called delegates who could cast votes for Americans Elect candidates? In how many states does AE have ballot access? Would AE care to discuss the difficulties of candidate recruitment?
Multiple emails and voicemails during a 24-hour period met with silence, until Americans Elect press secretary Ileana Wachtel responded: "Not ignoring. We just won the People's Choice Award at South by Southwest and on the road doing a tech tour. Perhaps we can catch up at another time."
Ballot Access News reports:
Only eleven candidates seeking the presidential nomination of Americans Elect have as many as forty supporters within the Americans Elect process. They are:
1. Buddy Roemer, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has 2,221 votes. Here is his web page.
2. Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City, Utah, has 954. Here is his web page.
3. Laurence Kotlikoff, Brookline, Massachusetts, has 638. Here is his web page. He is a professor of economics and was an economic advisor to President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors.
4. Michealene Risley, Woodside, California, has 588. She makes documentary films and is a published author. One of her films, “Flashcards” was nominated for an Oscar and concerns child abuse. Her other film is “Tapestries of Hope” about Zimbabwe. She doesn’t seem to have a campaign web page.
5. T. J. O’Hara, Rancho Santa Fe, California, has 189. Here is his web page. He is a businessman.
6. Mike Ballantine, registered to vote as a Green Party member in Pennsylvania, but has lived in Vietnam for the last six years. He has 117 votes. Here is his web page.
7. R. J. Harris, Norman, Oklahoma, has 80. Here is his web page. He is also seeking the Libertarian Party nomination.
8. Marlin Miller, Tennessee, has 70. Here is his web page. He is also the presidential nominee of American Third Position Party.
9. Dwight Smith, Detroit area, Michigan, has 58. He doesn’t seem to have a campaign web page.
10. David Jon Sponheim, Oak Harbor, Washington, has 47. Here is his web page. He is also the presidential nominee of America’s Third Party.
11. Verl Farnsworth, Mesa, Arizona, has 46. Here is his web page.