Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Friday, May 25, 2018

Students support independent political party

First, there were Republicans and Democrats. Now, there’s Americans Elect.

Americans Elect is a nonprofit organization whose website,, allows voters to directly nominate a candidate for president without going through the traditional party system. It allows any registered voter who signs up on the website to help pick the party’s nominee, regardless of the delegate’s party affiliation.

Some of the candidates for the Americans Elect primary include former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, according to the Americans Elect website.

“Americans Elect really touts that as their main headline: get away from this two political party system, where it’s almost as if everyone that’s going into an election has to choose the candidate that might not be perfect,” School Public Affairs freshman Ben Derby, who founded the AU chapter of Americans Elect.

The national organization’s goal is to place an alternative presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states, Derby said. The Club Council approved an Americans Elect chapter at AU on March 29.

Americans Elect AU currently has five to six committed members, with 10 people who have expressed interest in joining, Derby said.

Derby wants to ensure that AU has a decent number of Americans Elect delegates, or registered voters, by the end of the semester.

“The primary system begins at the end of May, and by the time we come back for fall semester, the ticket’s already been solidified,” Derby said.

The “primary” for Americans Elect will be held online in June, according to the organization’s website.

Derby said he hopes to spread American Elect’s message to AU student body and attract delegates for the organization. He also hopes to utilize student organization privileges, such as tabling on the Quad, posting fliers and hosting events, holding panel discussions and bringing guest speakers from the national Americans Elect organization.

Derby first became aware of the organization in June, when Americans Elect COO Elliot Ackerman appeared on the June 8 episode of “The Colbert Report.” After seeing the interview, Derby signed up on the Americans Elect website as a delegate.

Derby received a phone call from Nick Troiano, Americans Elect’s national campus director, in September 2011 asking him if he wanted to become a campus director for AU to get more students to be delegates.

Derby told Troiano he was willing to open a chapter at AU but chose to wait until this semester to establish a campus club so he could learn the details of running a club at AU.

Derby sees a lot of promise for the club through fall 2012, but is unsure what direction to take the club in following the presidential election, since he presumes that candidates won’t start thinking about the 2016 election until later.

Derby hopes the club will continue to exist for the 2016 elections, presuming the survival of the national organization.

“I won’t be around, but maybe I could pass the torch onto someone else,” he said.

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