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Are American elections headed online?

A voter fills out her ballot at the Codington Elementary School polling station on May 6, 2008 in Wilmington, N.C.

Americans Elect argues that right now the primary process in this country doesn't give the average voter a whole lot of power. Instead, party activists in Iowa or South Carolina can push candidates around while voters from California or New York are often ignored.

Joshua Levine at Americans Elect says Americans Elect will use the Internet to open the primary system to everyone. The group has built a website that will help voters identify the issues that are most important to them and connect them with like-minded individuals and candidates.

Next April, an online election will trim the field. And in June, an online convention will pick a bipartisan ticket. Levine says the group hopes to do for politics what Amazon and eBay did to retail. "Internet technology is disruptive because it's connective and because everyone can participate. There is no barrier to entry," Levine said.

Michael Cornfield, who studies politics and the internet at George Washington University, says the group has already collected $15 million to $20 million from large donors to get on the ballot in states across the country.

"I think they can really have an impact and be a voice for what seems to be a missing center at this time in our national history," Cornfield said.

Also on this program, big banks are investing millions in new supercomputers to help them predict how their most complex investments will perform in the next financial crisis.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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