How to Crowd Source a President

America Elects
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It’s not hard to find Americans fed up with the two-party system—just witness the skyrocketing number of voters registered as independents. But it’s still very hard to find a way around that system. The latest attempt is Americans Elect, a new project that tries to harness social media to voter dissatisfaction, which Andrew Romano explores in this week’s edition of NEWSWEEK. How does Americans Elect work? Here’s the step-by-step timeline.

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FALL-WINTER 2011-2012

Delegates visit the Americans Elect site to define their views and make questionnaires for candidates; any registered voter can sign up. In December draft movements take shape, and hopefuls launch their bids.

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APRIL 2012

Certified candidates, who, if declared, have answered a "platform of questions" chosen by the delegates, participate in online qualifying ballots designed to winnow the pool to six finalists.

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May 2012

Drafted candidates declare whether they're in or out, and the final six choose running mates froma party other than their own, insuring that fringe ideologues don't hijack the process.

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The top six tickets face off in a series of online votes. If any candidate wins an outright majority, then he or she becomes the nominee. If not, the top two vote-getting tickets ultimately compete in a final runoff.

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June 26, 2012

After an independent panel review, Americans Elect names its nominee. The reward: Ballot access in all 50 states and a spot in the debates, provided the candidate clears 15 percent in the polls.