Group seeks access in Md. for third-party candidate

A non-partisan, national group that plans to run a third-party presidential candidate nominated by an online convention will submit more than 18,000 signatures to the Maryland State Board of Elections on Wednesday with the hope of gaining a spot on the state’s ballot in November.

Americans Elect, a well-funded nonprofit that is working to gain ballot access in all 50 states, aims to change the way presidents are elected, bypassing the primaries and conventions used by Democrats and Republicans and instead allowing voters to pick a candidate via the Internet.

The most high-profile candidate in the running on the Americans Elect line appears to be Buddy Roemer, the former governor of Louisiana who had run for the Republican presidential nomination this year but withdrew in February.

The group is funded in part by wealthy banker Peter Ackerman, though it does not disclose its other donors. Even as it continues to gain ballot access across the country, the group has faced a number of recent setbacks. It postponed online voting this month and also announced it would prioritize its fundraising toward the repayment of investors who contributed more than 20 percent of the group’s budget.

State officials have 20 days to review the group’s signatures. If certified, Americans Elect would join the Libertarian and Green parties, as well as the Republican and Democratic parties, on the presidential ballot in Maryland. 

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