SXSW award winner hopes to change U.S. election process
A new website is hoping to bring together everyone who feels frustrated by the current U.S. electoral process. Adam Balkin filed the following report.
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Can a website do something that the U.S. electoral system apparently can't or bring forth a third party presidential candidate who actually has a shot at winning? That's exactly what Americans Elect is hoping. Fresh off winning the prestigious SXSW festival's People's Choice Award, last year taken by Groupon, it seems to have at least gotten enough of the right attention to make some sort of impact on the upcoming election.
"Americans Elect is crowd-sourcing the next president so we're developing a new nominating process online," said Nick Troiano of Americans Elect. "Any registered voter in America can become a delegate to the Americans Elect convention as a delegate. As a delegate they get to shape the debate by putting forward questions all the candidates have to answer. They can draft any leader in our country and finally in May and June they get to winnow down the whole field of drafted candidates and declared candidates to an actual nominee who will compete with both the Democrat and Republican nominees in this year's election."
On Election Day what do third party candidates traditionally do? For the most part they syphon votes from either the Republican or Democrat. But considering the power that social networking has had in the so-called "Arab Spring" - the changing of governments in places like Egypt and Tunisia - could a social website like Americans Elect wield similar influence in creating and legitimate, competitive third party candidate?
"Now for the first time we have the ability to aggregate the people who feel politically homeless in our politics. That can be a very powerful tool," said John Avlon of Newsweek and The Daily Beast. "I think you've got two enormous benefits: One, you're going to have a new ballot line potentially in all 50 states a lot of good that can be done with that. And second thing is in 2016, if it's an open race, that's where a bi-partisan ticket can really stand out and distinguish itself."
If you'd like to have a say, from the comfort of your computer chair, in who to put on the big ballot this November check out AmericansElect.org.