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Mon, Sept. 16

Political group pledges to let the voters decide

PHOENIX - voters will have a new party candidate to vote for in the next presidential election. The Arizona Secretary of State officially recognized the Americans Elect Party on July 20.

"We're not really a third party," said Ainsley Perrien, a spokeswoman for the organization's Washington, D.C. office. "We want people to choose the platform."

The idea behind the organization is to offer every registered voter in the U.S. a chance to go beyond the two party political system and pick their own candidate for president and vice president.

In order to do this, the organization has set up a website, www.americanselect.org, where registered voters can sign up and fill out a survey to find out what goals and issues are most important to them. The organization will show them a list of candidates who have agreed to run under the Americans Elect name that match their priorities. People registered with the website will then be able to vote for the candidate they want in an online convention in June. The winner of the convention will go on the ballot in hopefully every state in the nation, Perrien said.

In order to get on the 2012 ballot, Americans Elect has to go through the ballot access process in each of the 50 states, which have 50 different requirements. The organization has already been registered for the 2012 ballot in four states: Arizona, Alaska, Nevada, and Kansas. It is finishing the process in Hawaii, Michigan, Missouri and Florida, as well. It is currently working on getting on the ballot in California and started filing 1.6 million signatures with the California Secretary of State's Office on July 27. They have a grand total of about 2.9 million signatures nationwide.

Several news reports have claimed Americans Elect will throw the 2012 election for one party or another. Others have claimed the organization is not transparent about its funding. Because of changes in federal elections laws, the organization is not required to release the names of its donors.

"We are completely legit," Perrien said. Americans Elect is not trying to throw the election. It just wants to provide voters with a chance to choose the issues that are most important to them and the candidates they like. While the organization is accepting donations, the money is not going to fund candidates, she said.

Americans Elect is non-party specific, she said. Anyone from any party or even those not running for a specific party can register to run for an Americans Elect nomination. Perrien didn't elaborate on the criteria that candidates must meet in order to run.

However, she has confidence in the registered voters who will be choosing the Americans Elect 2012 candidate. The organization already has more than 30,000 people signed up, and Perrien said she believes Americans Elect voters will weed out any extremists.

Also, any candidate who wins the nomination must choose a running mate from a different party, Perrien said. The idea is to encourage candidates who say they are willing to compromise with the other party to do just that.

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