As we move to within a month of the first votes being cast in the 2012 presidential election, a little-known group is laying the foundation to have a potentially major impact upon the November election. Americans Elect is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization that will allow the American people, via the Internet, to choose an Independent nominee for President. While this sounds like a far-fetched concept, the group already claims to have raised $20 million for their effort, in undisclosed contributions, and has already gained ballot access for their eventual candidate in 13 states, including key battlegrounds like Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan. The organization already has submitted more than 2.15 million valid signatures to obtain the ballot access in these places, and the number continues to grow. The group’s leadership says that more than 1 million additional petition signatures already have been gathered for California and will soon be submitted for verification.
If Americans Elect continues along its current pace, their eventual “nominee” will be on the ballot in most states. With former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) already publicly urging GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman to enter the America Elect sweepstakes, more attention is being paid to the organization. Though no eventual Independent candidate will be in serious competition to win the Presidency, such a candidacy could significantly affect the race by peeling off votes from the two major candidates.