UPDATED: A new political party is expected to appear on North Carolina's ballot in November.
The nonpartisan Americans Elect wants to offer voters an alternative to the two-party political system. It submitted about 86,000 certified signatures from North Carolina residents to get on the ballot, joining the Democrat, Republican and Libertarian parties who will nominate a candidate. (The organization collected 120,000 signatures, about 86,000 of which were certified by local counties, organizers said.) Americans Elect needs 85,379 signatures, or 2 percent of the votes cast in the last general election, to make the cut, according to state law.
Voters will decide the party's candidates in an online nominating convention in June. Anyone can run for president and all registered voters are eligible to serve as delegates.
Luke Shuffield, a Duke University junior, delivered the signatures Wednesday morning. He said the group is going to harness technology to attract support. "I think we've already seen in the last couple elect cycles that new technology and social movements can be powerful in elections," he said. "We acknowledge its an uphill battle but I don't think it's too idealistic at all ... given the start divide we have in politics."
Americans Elect is now on the ballot in 21 states -- North Carolina will be No. 22, once certified by the State Board of Elections. Organizers expect to collect the signatures to contest all 50 states. The nonprofit -- which shuns the idea that its a third party -- is accepting campaign contributions from individuals but not special interests, corporations or political action committees. The idea, organizers say, is to find a candidate who answers to the voters, not political parties.
"I think you're going to find that a lot of people aren't really satisfied with two options," Shuffield said.