IPR investigation: Where has Americans Elect attempted to get on the ballot?

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In my last update on Americans Elect I wrote:

Jim Cook has updates on Americans Elect activities in Arizona, Nevada and Ohio. The petitioner grapevine has it that Americans Elect petitioning has been completed in Arizona and Kansas, but Nevada is the only state that their signatures have been verified to have been turned in to the state through sources I have seen.

Petitioning for Americans Elect was started, then halted, in Michigan. And again according to the petitioner grapevine, they will be petitioning in several Southeastern states later this month or next month.

Jim Cook responds at Irregular Times:

On January 17, Independent Political Report reported a rumor that petitioning for Americans Elect to qualify as a political party in Kansas had been completed:

The petitioner grapevine has it that Americans Elect petitioning has been completed in Arizona and Kansas, but Nevada is the only state that their signatures have been verified to have been turned in to the state through sources I have seen.

A visitor to Independent Political Report expresses high confidence that Americans Elect has turned in its petitions to the state of Kansas:

Americans Elect did the full party status petition in Kansas which requires 16,776 valid signatures rather just doing a petition to place a presidential ticket on the ballot which requires 5,000 signatures…. I’ve heard from multiple sources that Americans Elect was petitioning in Kansas so I do not think that it was a rumor.

Because Americans Elect has geared up outside the public spotlight in its own bid for the White House in 2012, public documentation of its efforts have been scanty and undocumented rumors like these have run amok. We’ve already seen that the “petitioner grapevine” rumors are at odds with the official record in Arizona, which (thanks to conversations with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office for clarity) show that less than $500 has been spent in the state by Americans Elect. This is far less than would be required to successfully manage and execute a ballot access campaign with the professional petition circulators that have been hired by Americans Elect.

My conversation this afternoon with Brad Bryant of the Elections and Legislative Matters division of the Kansas Secretary of State’s office appears to dispel these rumors. Bryant declared unequivocally that the Kansas Secretary of State has not received any completed petitions from Americans Elect, has not received any blank petition forms for approval from Americans Elect, and has not had any formal or informal conversations about ballot access with people identifying themselves as part of an Americans Elect effort. The most that might have happened, Bryant indicated to me, is that someone who didn’t identify as part of Americans Elect discussed the party petition procedure with his office (as many have this year), or that perhaps Americans Elect has started gathering party ballot qualification signatures without submitting blank petition forms for approval first.

The grapevine may be a place to look for tips, but the most solid ground for finding out about political organizations like Americans Elect is the official record. That is why the disappearance of Americans Elect from the public record is a disturbing event.

My response in Irregular Times comments:

We’ve already seen that the “petitioner grapevine” rumors are at odds with the official record in Arizona, which (thanks to conversations with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office for clarity) show that less than $500 has been spent in the state by Americans Elect.

If the money was spent with an out of state petition company, I don’t guess it would show up with SOS records in the state. Most petitioners and petition companies travel. The grapevine we have is both from people that were working there and non-petitioners that encountered them.

And:

perhaps Americans Elect has started gathering party ballot qualification signatures without submitting blank petition forms for approval first.

I know people that worked there for weeks. As in a whole crew.

If any of our readers can help us get to the bottom of this, both Jim Cook (Irregular Times) and myself would appreciate it.

See background on Americans Elect at Irregular Times and IPR.

9 thoughts on “IPR investigation: Where has Americans Elect attempted to get on the ballot?

  1. Jim

    Thanks, Paulie. The ideal situation would be one in which all this data was transparently, publicly available.

  2. Jim

    Regarding Alabama, another state in which there are rumors of Americans Elect petition activity, I called the elections division of the Alabama Secretary of State’s office today and had a conversation with their elections lawyer, Rob Johnston.

    He indicated to me that there’s been no formal contact between Americans Elect and the state of Alabama regarding ballot access — that is, no sample forms have been vetted with the Alabama SOS office, no party emblem has been introduced, and no petitions have been submitted by AE. However, according to Johnston, there could well be signature gathering going on in Alabama right now and his office might not know anything about it.

  3. paulie Post author

    Latest I heard is that Alabama and other states around here that were supposed to start up got delayed.

    However, another guy I know who was working Americans Elect in Kansas, was recently kicked out from the apartment of a woman I know who is about halfway between Nashville and Huntsville, AL and today she told me that he told her that he is nearby and working, so maybe Alabama started.

  4. paulie Post author

    In which case I’m not real real happy. “Cause they haven’t hooked me up, and I’m sitting on my ass in Alabama and not working…

  5. paulie Post author

    Jim, as I previously commented on your blog: most petitioners and petition companies travel.

    It doesn’t necessarily mean anything as far as whether they worked in Arizona or not, whether they also spent money in Arizona or not. It is entirely possible that the money was spent with an out of state petition company to do work in Arizona, thus making it unnecessary to report anything to Arizona.

    The whole thing overall is mysterious…the latest I have heard is conflicting reports as to whether they started back up in Michigan.

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