AUGUSTA — Americans Elect, the national non-profit hoping to bring a third party presidential ticket for the 2012 election, released a statement today indicating that is has achieved ballot access in Maine.

Eliot Cutler, the former Maine gubernatorial candidate and a member of the AE board, said in statement that the group’s 32,000 signatures had been certified by the Maine Bureau of Elections today.

Americans Elect contracted a national firm to obtain signatures.

There had been some recent speculation that Americans Elect had run into problems during its qualification submission. Cutler didn’t address that in his statement, but instead said that Maine “is one of the most difficult ballot access states in America for anyone other than the major parties.”

He added, “Americans Elect is expanding our nation’s great experiment in democracy at a time of national upheaval, when people need to be drawn back into the electoral process, not driven away from it.

Maine is now the 15th state in which AE has achieved ballot access.

The group will hold an online convention later this year at which time so-called delegates will nominate a third party ticket.

The group claims to be a non-partisan non-profit, however, campaign finance advocates have argued that AE is a political organization exploiting loosened election laws to shield its donors. The group Democracy 21 recently formally challenged the group’s non-profit status with the Federal Elections Commission.

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