New political party recognized in Kan.
Oct 07, 2011 (The Hutchinson News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Kansas' newest political party, Americans Elect, has more words in its name than affiliated voters in Kansas.
As of Oct. 1, Kansas had 1,692,704 registered voters. The number who had declared affiliation with Americans Elect? One.
Americans Elect is focused on the presidential election of November 2012. Using the Internet instead of the political party conventions that Republican and Democratic parties will hold, Americans Elect online delegates will choose a presidential-vice presidential ticket that almost certainly won't look like the Republican or Democratic tickets.
The Americans Elect ticket won't contain two people with similar political roots, said Drew Hazouri, the Denver-area-based director of Americans Elect's central region.
The two people on the ticket will have to be from different parties, he said, to avoid having two Democrats or two Republicans.
The intent is to "try to balance out our political system again and start working toward progress instead of just the elections," Hazouri said.
In early July, the Kansas Secretary of State's office notified Americans Elect that it had qualified for official recognition as a party. In Kansas, gaining that status makes it possible for the Americans Elect presidential ticket to appear on the November 2012 ballot with the Americans Elect party label, according to State Election Director Brad Bryant.
It's been a while since the state has had a new, officially recognized party, Bryant said.
Kansas voter registration forms reflect the addition, too. People have the option of choosing for party affiliation: Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Reform, Americans Elect, or "not affiliated with a party." Americans Elect qualified in Kansas by submitting a petition that bore at least 16,766 valid signatures of registered voters in the state, according to Kay Curtis, director of public affairs for the Kansas Secretary of State.
Americans Elect is deploying an organized effort to gain access to ballots in all 50 states, and an out-of-state organizer was involved in the Kansas petition effort, according to the Secretary of State's office.
"We don't consider ourselves a party. We consider ourselves a second nominating process for the presidential race," Hazouri said. In some states, though, it must attain party status to enable the Americans Elect ticket to appear on the ballot, Hazouri said.
Americans Elect encourages registered voters -- of any or no political party -- to go to its website, www.AmericansElect.org, and sign up. People can help shape the issues and, as a delegate, directly nominate someone for president. The "first-ever online convention" will be in June 2012, Hazouri said.
Congress ranks low in public opinion polls, Hazouri said, because of the "drastic polarization" that prevails, he said.
"The people have an idea of what they would like to see out in the country, and Congress is not doing it," he said.
Bryant said the Kansas Secretary of State's office stays in communication with party officials, and as of now, there isn't a designated party chairman in Kansas for Americans Elect.
___ (c)2011 The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, Kan.) Visit The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, Kan.) at www.hutchnews.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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