New Third Party Looks to Join Primary Fray

Online voters can pick anyone—even if they don't want to run
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2011 1:14 PM CDT
Could Mike Bloomberg become an unwilling candidate?   (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, File)

(Newser) – A new “virtual third party” is hoping to shake up the 2012 presidential race with an unconventional process: It’s holding a non-partisan online primary, in which voters can “draft” any candidate they want. The group, dubbed Americans Elect, says it’s got the funds to put the winner on the ballot in all 50 states—along with a running mate who the rules state can’t be from the same party, Doyle McManus of the LA Times reports.

Voters can nominate anyone—names like Michael Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz have all been floated. Candidates can decline only after they’ve already picked up support through several rounds of voting. The project’s organizers include both Democrats and Republicans, and they insist they’re not trying to play “spoiler” against either side in the election. “I’m in this because I think the system is broken,” says its national political director, “and this is a way to begin fixing it.”

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