Americans Elect will offer voters a third choice for presidentNon-partisan group awaits certification for South Dakota ballot.
By: Denise Ross, The Daily Republic
With the filing of more than 15,000 signatures late last week, a non-profit nonpartisan group called Americans Elect took another step toward its goal of offering American voters a choice beyond the traditional Democratic and Republican parties in this year’s presidential election.
The group, headquartered in Washington, D.C., plans to get its candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. If the signatures are verified, South Dakota would mark the 20th state to put the group on the November ballot; this week Nebraska became the 19th.
The group is awaiting certification in six states and continues its efforts to gain ballot access in the remaining states.
While Americans Elect does not consider itself a political party, it did have to register in South Dakota as a party in order to gain access to the ballot.
Getting on the ballot in all 50 states without being a political party marks a watershed event in American politics, said Nathan Daschle, a member of Americans Elect board of advisers.
“The single greatest contribution they are making to politics is to get a presidential candidate on the ballot without going through the primary system. It’s truly a revolution,” said Daschle.
He is now a registered independent despite being the former executive director of the Democratic Governors Association and son of former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Laurie Fulton, a major fundraiser for the 2008 Obama campaign and the American ambassador to Denmark.
A year ago, Nathan Daschle co-founded a social media site, www.ruck.us, to help Americans organize politically outside of political parties.
“We are both trying to give average Americans a choice other than the Democratic or Republican party,” he said, noting both efforts also reduce the influence of money in politics. “They certainly cost some money, but not nearly as much as to run a primary election.”
While Americans Elect works to get on the November ballot, the group doesn’t yet have a candidate. A nominating convention is planned online at www.americanselect.org in June, where any registered voter can become a delegate. It’s website promises “a presidential ticket free from partisan politics and special interests,” and the group says it will require its nominee to choose a running mate from another party.
Delegates will develop the Americans Elect platform and choose a presidential candidate. Currently, former Louisiana governor and congressman Buddy Roemer is the best-known contender.
On its website, both current Republican candidate Ron Paul and former Republican candidate Jon Huntsman are leading draftee candidates.
As a 501(c)4, Americans Elect does not have to disclose its donors, and the group has drawn criticism because of this. It’s 2010 tax return shows it initially raised more than $5 million.
On its website, Americans Elect states: “We intend to repay our initial financing so that no single individual will have contributed more than $10,000.”