Ezra Klein is a columnist for the Washington Post, for Bloomberg News, and a contributor to MSNBC. This Klein column discusses Americans Elect. It is especially interesting because he appears to have interviewed Eliot Ackerman, one of Americans Elect’s leaders. Ackerman lays stress on the role Americans Elect will play in elections after 2012, and mentions that Americans Elect will be automatically on the ballot in 2014 in many states if its nominee does well in 2012.
If Americans Elect really wants to be automatically ballot-qualified in 2014 in as many states as possible, and if it is paying attention to the laws on how parties remain ballot-qualified, then it will run candidates in 2012 for certain statewide offices other than President.
In Alabama, a party is automatically on the ballot if it polls 20% for any statewide office. In 2012, it is not likely that the Americans Elect presidential nominee will poll as much as 20% in Alabama. But if Americans Elect were to run for any of the four statewide partisan State Supreme Court races that otherwise will have only the Republican nominee on the ballot, chances are very high that it would poll 20% for one of those races. In a similar two-party State Supreme Court race in Alabama in 2000, the Libertarian Party polled over 20% of the vote and was therefore on the ballot automatically in 2002.
In Idaho, if a party runs nominees for at least three partisan offices, it is automatically ballot-qualified for the next election. The package of president, vice-president, and presidential electors counts as only one office, so Americans Elect should run nominees for two other partisan federal or state offices if it wishes to remain ballot-qualified.
In New Hampshire, a party only remains ballot-qualified if it polls 4% for Governor or U.S. Senator. There is no U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire in 2012, so it will be interesting to see if Americans Elect runs anyone for Governor. The presidential vote is useless for keeping a party on the ballot.
In West Virginia, which elects a Governor in 2012, only the gubernatorial vote counts, so it will be interesting to see if Americans Elect runs anyone for Governor. As in New Hampshire, the presidential vote is not relevant to a party’s on-going status.
In Wyoming, a party remains ballot-qualified in a presidential election year only if it polls 2% for U.S. House. The presidential vote is not involved.