Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First-Round Voting Deadline Passes At Americans Elect; May 8 Primary "Cancelled"

The deadline for candidate 'support clicks' at Americans Elect Corporation was midnight last night (May 1), according to both its official Pre-Election Convention Rules and their online summary. That deadline came, and went, ten hours ago as we write. But as yet there is not hardly a peep from Americans Elect noting this significant (and, we guess, embarrassing) event in its short but troubled life.
  • Not a press release...
  • Not a notice on the web site's 'Candidates' section that further votes won't count toward candidate qualification for the next round of voting (although we note that new votes are still being recorded)
  • Not an email to delegates
  • No posted Board decisions regarding the impact of the failed vote on the upcoming Primaries
  • No response to repeated voicemail messages from us to AECorp's press secretary, Ileana Wachtel, requesting AECorp's comment [EDIT]: See 11 AM update at the end of this article
  • Nothing. Zip. (...crickets...)
Over the past few days our Kremlin-watchers here at AE Transparency have been considering and raucously debating the likelihood of various scenarios regarding how AECorp would be likely to finesse an explanation...and a disaster recovery response...for its failed first-round voting effort, but we must confess that we never even dreamed of this, the corporation's actual response: pretending the whole thing just didn't happen.

Not since the final episode of The Sopranos have Americans been so let down by a dramatic denouement.

Was it all just a bad dream? Is this the way Peter Ackerman's democracy theater ends -- not with a bang, but a whimper?

UPDATE #1 (11 AM ET, May 1): We have just spoken by phone with AECorp press secretary Ileana Wachtel, who confirmed that "Since no candidate earned enough support clicks to qualify for the First Primary ballot on May 8 we are cancelling that ballot and will move on to the Second Primary ballot on May 15."

UPDATE #2 (3 PM ET, May 1): As of this time, AECorp still hasn't seen fit to issue a press release, or even just email its delegates, letting us know that the primary has been cancelled. And the 'countdown clock' to be found all over its web site (for example, here) still reads "6 days left until first caucus on May 8." The server's on, but nobody's home?

UPDATE #3 (4:45 PM ET, May 1): In a 'News' item just now posted on its web site, rather blandly titled Caucus Schedule Updated, AECorp has just announced that "According to our rules, since fewer than seven candidates have received enough support to qualify for the AE nomination, the first caucus scheduled for May 8th will now take place on May 15th." A considerably less maladept way of saying "we had to cancel our first primary because it turned out nobody actually gave a damn." Attentive readers will note that not only did "fewer than seven candidates" receive sufficient support to move on to the (now cancelled) May 8 primary, not a single candidate did. Indeed, no one even came close. (A tip of the hat to John Lumea for alerting us to this long-awaited AECorp post!)

UPDATE #4 (2:00 PM ET, May 11): The AE news item cited in Update #3 above, Caucus Schedule Updated, can no longer be found on the Americans Elect web site (a copy is, for the moment, still available from Bing's cache). Like an incompetent physician, Americans Elect just quietly buries its mistakes while no one's looking, and moves on.
Screenshot of the page from Bing's cache:

END NOTE: To (finally!) close this little story we would just like to extend our sincerest gratitude to AECorp owner/operator Peter Ackerman for not blowing our exclusive scoop when he was "kicking back" with senior columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, John Avlon, last night, while we were slaving away on this story. This, John, is what happens when newspersons simply fawn over headliner billionaires rather than, you know, actually asking real questions and digging for answers: you end up missing the story. We don't really mean to kick you while you're down, but the mass media's consistent failure to ask Americans Elect a single hard question, and not take mush-mouthery for answers, has been driving us all a little crazy for months now. So at least you're not alone in your inch-deep credulity; you're really just falling in behind so many of your journalistic colleagues.

We hope Peter at least left you a decent tip.


  1. New support votes are supposed to be counted toward candidate qualification for the next round of voting. See Rules 2.2.2 and 3.2.2, in which a candidate "shall demonstrate public support by Delegate Support Clicks on the Website 7 days before any Primary Ballot on which the candidate seeks to be considered ...." There are three primary ballots provided for in the rules, and when AE changed the schedule of primary ballots, they also changed the rules to make it possible for a candidate who missed the first primary ballot deadline to qualify for the second or third.

    Presumably, nobody is going to qualify for the second or third deadline, either. But compliance with the existing rules would require AE to keep accepting support clicks for candidates through May 14 to give candidates a chance to qualify for the second and third primary ballot.

  2. See also this press release which explained that it was indeed their intention to allow candidates until a week before the last primary ballot to qualify.

    1. The February 2011 press release you cite refers to the Pre-Election Convention rules we linked to in this article (above), which state: (Rule 7.1): "The Primary Rounds shall be held on May 8, 2012, May 15, 2012, and May 22, 2012," and (Rule 2.2.2): "Each Declared Candidate shall demonstrate public support by Delegate Support Clicks on the Website 7 days before any Primary Ballot on which the Candidate seeks to be considered, to provide sufficient time for a Candidate Certification Committee review prior to the first Primary Ballot."

      Therefore, support-clicks required to advance to the first May 8 Primary Round ended at midnight on May 1, as we have stated.

    2. As noted in our 11 AM update at the end of this article, Americans Elect press secretary Ileana Wachtel has just confirmed to us that the May 8 Primary ballot is now cancelled due to failure of any candidate to earn enough support clicks; AE now moves on to the May 15 Second Primary round. So, second is the new first.

  3. You're correct, Joshua, that additional support clicks probably still should count toward the 2nd caucus on May 15 (although the rules are sufficiently ambiguously written to leave this a little unclear). Nonetheless, the deadline for support clicks to count toward the first May 8 caucus expired at midnight last night, with NO candidate earning enough support clicks to make it onto that first caucus ballot. Given the significance of that event, it is nothing short of remarkable that AECorp chooses simply not to comment on that fact.

  4. The only significant point here where we disagree, I think, is that you wrote that AE didn't put up "a notice on the web site's 'Candidates' section that further votes won't count toward candidate qualification for the next round of voting". They will count toward qualification for the next round of voting -- the one scheduled for May 15.

    Telling delegates that further clicks won't count toward qualification for the May 8 round (because that round's deadline has passed) would be more confusing than helpful, since there are other rounds beyond the May 8 one that the candidates are still allowed to qualify for.

    1. Fair enough, Joshua. Although we think that putting out some kind of notice that "Oh, by the way, that whole May 8 Primary thing is cancelled..." would have been an nice touch. There are still tens of thousands...no, wait a minute, hundreds...no, wait a minute, dozens...no, wait a minute, one's and two's...of delegates madly clicking away thinking they're working to get their candidate onto a May 8 ballot which isn't going to happen. That should warrant some kind of note on the 'Candidates' page. But Pete Ackerman's AECorp has never been very good at communicating honestly and openly (which, in the end, will go down as one of the major reasons for its now certain failure).

  5. Ae transparency is an Obama smear campaign because he cant run on his accomplishments

    1. Others have accused us of being a Romney smear campaign. Thanks for your comment; it restores our 'centrist' credentials!

  6. Why not tell it like it is, bro? Peter Akerman is "A Traitor to His Class"!

    But why doesn't the nation know this?!

    Here is why:
    The PR contractors muddled the AE brand in two big ways. First, they let fear-driven suspicions about a Wall Street trick fester in the public’s mind. They should have had a fast moving, sharp tongued response team. (All they had was a general news magazine sent out by email and called rapid response.)

    Second, by letting Americans think that AE is a “third party” they really screwed up. Americans yawn at the prospect of yet another party on the political scene. Of course, it’s not a “party” at all. It has no policy slate, or issue positions. It’s a PROCESS for holding an online primary w/o the domination of the two-party system elites.

    AE should have been presented as what it is – a bold challenger to the status quo. Instead, the PR people sent out a couple of soft spoken Mr. Nice Guys who didn’t want to offend anyone, but who wanted to be Everyman’s Friend. That’s not the spirit that drives political reform!

    Now, AE has to recover from the PR damage its paid contractors have caused its brand. We have to make it known that our focus is on Political Reform, and that we are the up-coming challengers to the dominant two-party system. We should NOT present AE as Everyman’s Friend, because we don’t want to be friends with the Established Elites – we want to kick their butts off the political stage!

    Once folks start hearing that message, they will start to pay more attention. So, changing the AE image should be at the top of our long term agenda. (For more,
    http://tinyurl.com/7nruy9p )

    William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
    Email: Internetvoting@gmail.com
    Blog: http://tinyurl.com/IV4All
    Twitter: wjkno1

    Author of Internet Voting Now!

    1. Thanks for your $0.02, Dr. Bill.

      For readers who may not know, William Kelleher is an Americans Elect Corporation 'Delegate Leader', and has worked closely in support of its Rapid Response Team (sic).

  7. AE is going to attack the political establishment? What a laugh.

  8. AE's technical incompetence is amazing. The website says that every delegate who tries to sign in to take part in a caucus (like the one now scheduled for May 15) will be required to click on the correct "security image" for that person. In the instructions, those images are various animals. But, after I log in correctly, I am shown a "security image" consisting of 3 letters only. When I click on "Not my security image? Click here", the site logs me off and returns to its home page. What a mess.


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