BY JIM MILLER
SACRAMENTO BUREAU
jmiller@pe.com

Published: 23 November 2011 05:28 PM

SACRAMENTO — A new political party is poised to qualify for California’s 2012 ballot, part of a well-funded nationwide effort to create an alternative to the two major parties’ presidential contenders.

Organizers for Americans Elect, a registered nonprofit, say it has no ideology to push. Instead, they say, it encourages voters to submit their views to shape a platform and help select an Americans Elect ticket for president and vice president through an online convention.

The group first needs to get on the ballot in all 50 states. With the help of paid signature gatherers, the organization recently turned in more than 1.6 million signatures to county election offices in California. Of those, more than 93,000 came from Riverside County and almost 106,000 from San Bernardino County.

Based on a random sample, 1.13 million of the signatures are estimated to be valid, more than enough to meet the 1,030,040-signature threshold to get on the ballot. County election officials are in the process of verifying the signatures and should be finished by mid-December.

“We’ll be on the ballot in California,” said Peter Arno, Americans Elect’s regional director, who has overseen the signature-collecting effort. The group, he said, has had greater success in places such as Inland Southern California that are not strongholds of a major party.

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