How to Follow Election Night Online (If You Can Stomach It)

It’s almost over! In a few days we’ll know who our next president is, or possibly be flung into a Constitutional crisis. Either way, here’s how to process the results in real-time.

We’re going to assume that you’re already planning to have a television on, or NPR, or some other primary feed of Electoral College calls. You may even end up watching at an AMC movie theater, although presumably you’ll need something stronger than a jumbo Coke Zero to get you through the night.

Instead, we’re going to focus on your second and third screens, the tabs you’ll be refreshing and the apps you’ll be pulling to refresh. They’ll help you to better understand what’s happening on election night, and hopefully help cope with the results.

VoteCastr

Traditionally, media outlets keep exit polling data closely guarded on election night until enough figures are in to make a definitive call. This year, they’ll do the same, except for Slate, which is going to share what it knows when it knows it. Imagine that!

Slate’s partnering with a start-up called VoteCastr, which relies not on exit polls but on comparing pre-eletion polls to actual turnout in key precincts. They won’t be calling results, but they should give you a window into how things are shaping up much earlier than you’ve been able in the past.

WIRED

You were already planning to keep an eye on our site, right? Of course you were. And here’s why: first of all, we’ll be liveblogging throughout the day to bring you analysis of how the internet is handling everything. After all, this is the election the internet created. We’re partnering with social sentiment data team Networked Insights to take a granular look at how people across the social web—from Twitter to Tumblr to the New York Times’ comments section–are feeling. Then, starting at 6pm ET, we’ll have both a liveblog and a livestream. The livestream, hosted by Carlos Watson, is a partnership with the Washington D.C.-based media company OZY and will be streamed from 6pm until midnight ET, with live interviews and analysis.

See you there. Or here.

Colbert!

Okay, technically this is on TV too. But Stephen Colbert’s Showtime election night special, which kicks off at 11pm ET, will also be streamed for Showtime subscribers, and should be just the remedy for your case of Wolf Blitzer Overload. Keep the Showtime Anytime app open on your tablet for whenever you need a little levity amidst the madness.

Buzzfeed Live

For all the jokes (and they’re good jokes) about Buzzfeed’s listicles and Disney Princess posts, the site has one of the best news operations around. It’ll be putting that to use tonight, starting at 6pm ET, livestreaming an election special via Twitter. Its political reporters will parse results with the help of a tracking company called Decision Desk HQ. And you’ll never be more than a tap away from the rest of your Twitter stream, for all due celebrations or commiserations.

Politico Election Results Map

You don’t want analysis. You don’t want drama. You just want a map of states turning red or blue, and a simple bar chart showing who’s closest to the 270 electoral votes needed to win. I can’t say that I blame you.

There will be lots and lots and lots of these maps on election night, but consider Politico’s for its simplicity. You can tab between presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial races, drill down into each state’s results, or just watch the electoral vote counter bring you closer to joy or oblivion, depending on which party you favor.

@NateSilver538

You can follow FiveThirtyEight, I guess, to see how the polling matches up against actual results. Better, though, to follow Nate Silver himself, still the preeminent voice in figuring out what exactly is going on behind the numbers in politics and sports (but mostly, at least tonight, politics).

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