SOUTH PORTLAND – Americans Elect, a national nonprofit that aims to field a third-party presidential ticket, will try to maintain its ballot status in Maine by holding a caucus at 10 a.m. Saturday at the South Portland Community Center.

Using paid petitioners, Americans Elect gathered 32,000 signatures from registered Maine voters, winning certification in late January from the state Bureau of Elections as a recognized political party. However, to maintain its newly won ballot status, the party must conduct at least one municipal caucus in each of Maine’s 16 counties.

But don’t expect news of a caucus vote. Ben Marcus, the group’s national director of state committees and electors, said no presidential preference poll will be conducted. That’s because preliminary balloting is already under way on the party’s website,, where every registered user automatically becomes a delegate to a “national convention” to be staged online in June.

The local caucus, Marcus said, is being staged simply to comply with state law, which requires both the municipal caucuses and election of delegates to a state convention, which, given AE’s unique online set-up, will have no impact on the party’s presidential picks.

“We’re just doing the minimum we have to do to comply with the law,” said Marcus on Thursday. “Maine actually has some of the most difficult ballot access laws in the country to deal with.”

Marcus said two South Portland residents – Donald Russell III and Jessica Kessler – have agreed to register in the party. Unless others residents do the same before the start of the causes, the event will include just them, Marcus and a second national party official. Russell and Kessler are expected to be voted chairman and secretary, respectively, of the South Portland chapter, as well as delegates to the mandated state convention.

The South Portland caucus is such a low-key event, said Marcus, that not even Eliot Cutler, runner-up in the 2010 Maine gubernatorial vote and subsequent party national director, will attend.

Marcus said Americans Elect is focused solely on November’s presidential race and will field no congressional or legislative candidates in Maine.