How To Watch Tonight's Election Results Online

On November 6, 2012, the first post-PC U.S. presidential election will come to a close. Just like the primaries, conventions and debates, tonight's election returns will be obsessively and extensively live streamed and covered online. For those relying on the Internet for their nail-biting date with democracy, there are more choices than anyone could possibly list. 

Pretty much every modern news site in the United States (and many abroad) will be covering the results as they happen. That coverage will consist of a dizzying array of interactive maps, data visualizations, live video feeds, tweets, Instagram photos and good, old fashioned news articles. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are even pulling down their paywalls for the occasion. 

YouTube's Election Hub will be live streaming results, just as it has done with pretty much every other major election-related event this year. The politics-focused channel has become a robust repository for videos related to the presidential campaign, from debate clips and convention speeches to attack ads and professional punditry. While waiting for the electoral results to start rolling in, you can ease your impatience with one last burst of election-related video before the campaign fatigue comes to a merciful end. 

No Shortage Of Video Streams

CNN will offer live video feeds of the election results, along with the usual assortment of maps, interactive tools and social media updates. The live video stream will be available on CNN's mobile apps, but only to cable subscribers. Users of any tablet can check CNN's live results map in the browser and play around with the Facebook Election Insights tool, which is fueled by real-time data from the enormous social network. 

The Wall Street Journal is planning a similarly cross-platform night of political coverage. Alongside standard news stories, it will have a dynamically updated map powered by CartoDB, a New York-based mapping startup. In addition to state-by-state election returns, that map allows users to overlay state-based data points like unemployment, per-capita income and previous election results. The Wall Street Journal will also stream video coverage live on its website and via its WSJ Live app for mobile devices and Internet TV streaming boxes. 

Other sites offering live-streamed video coverage include Politico, Washington Post, CBS News, HuffPost Live and the Chicago Tribune, to name but a few.  If you're at a loss, head over to UStream, where there will be a selection of more than a dozen video streams to chose from. 

Video isn't the only option. If you'd rather listen to the returns and focus your eyes elsewhere, NPR will be broadcasting live on its website and via its mobile apps. Meanwhile, Slacker Radio has partnered with ABC News to provide its own live audio coverage. 

This is really just a sampling of sources for live online election coverage. If you have a favorite news provider, check their website for links to a live stream. If you're not picky, big name sources like CNN or WSJ are always a good default, since they tend to have the technical resources to support heavy-duty live-streaming of major news events. If all else fails, head over to UStream and take your pick.

(Want to see how far we've come? Check out this story on how to watch the 2010 elections online.)

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock.