VoteCastr: Get Live Election Results Before Polls Close, All Day Long — Here’s How

Thanks to the startup company VoteCastr, voters — or anyone — looking for live election returns and projected results before polls close on election day in the United States can now find those results online. And we’re about to tell you how to find out who’s winning right now, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

But the VoteCastr initiative, carried out in partnership with the online political magazine, Slate, and the multimedia news organization, Vice, is already causing controversy — the final capper on a 2016 Presidential Election that has been wire-to-wire controversies. The early results are bringing up comparisons to the 1980 election, in which it was widely believed the TV networks announcing the results of the election between then-President Jimmy Carter and Republican challenger Ronald Reagan before polls closed on the west coast led to an early concession speech by Carter and caused voters in areas of the country where polls were still open to simply stay home.

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Voters in Manchester, New Hampshire, go to the polls on Tuesday morning. Now, you can find out how they voted almost right away. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Will the same thing happen in 2016, as a result of the VoteCastr project? That’s up to you, the voter. There’s nothing requiring anyone to follow the VoteCastr live results. But for those too curious to wait until 11 p.m. Eastern Time when polls finally close in California, there are two primary ways to stay up to date on the VoteCastr live election results.

First, Slate will post VoteCastr data on a live blog starting 11 Eastern Time. Click on this link to access the Slate live blog, which should be refreshed frequently throughout the day.

The live results can be customized in a number of ways. For example, users can see statewide results — or the results only from Clinton strongholds or Trump strongholds.

Also, Vice will be streaming live video from its Brooklyn, New York, editorial offices, home of the VoteCastr “War Room,” all day long on Tuesday, November 8. The live results will be announced and analyzed by experts the moment they come in, and you will be able to see the latest totals by viewing the live stream video below.

As an alternative, visit the Vice site directly, where the video is also streaming live, by clicking on this link.

VoteCastr is breaking with a journalistic tradition that goes back at least to 1980 when there were reports of chaos at the polls when it became clear early in the evening that Reagan was on his way to defeating Carter, and the news media reported that information.

“There was an uproar in the West… when NBC News led its two rivals in calling the election for Ronald Reagan at 8:15 p.m. Eastern time, almost three hours before the voting ended in California and other Pacific Coast states,” Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote. “There were reports of people leaving the lines outside polling places, of drivers on their way to the polls going home instead. There were accusations from losers of close local races that the broadcasts had cost them the election.”

Will the VoteCastr live results have the same effect, perhaps tilting the election in favor of whoever the company reports to be leading early in the day? Slate doesn’t think so.

“We will be measured and precise in how we frame and present the information; we won’t be calling Florida for Hillary at 11 a.m., or calling any states at all,” wrote the publication’s editor-in-chief, Julia Turner. “We’ll simply be taking the unprecedented step of showing you Election Day as the insiders see it. It’s your election, after all.”

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But election experts, such as Nate Cohn of the New York Times Upshot, say that the information provided by VoteCastr could prove faulty because it will be based largely on surveys of voter turnout, which can fluctuate wildly throughout election day.

“Younger voters don’t usually vote in the morning, and many voters in nine-to-five jobs might surge to the polls in the evening, Cohn wrote on Monday. “The VoteCastr model makes no effort to adjust for this. It will treat turnout as if it’s uniform throughout the day: If 10 percent of the day has passed, it will expect 10 percent of the vote to be counted. This can cause considerable variance in the estimates as the hours go by.”

Read Cohn’s full analysis of the VoteCastr process by clicking on this link.

But with the warnings and cautions offered by Cohn and other critics in mind, voters and anyone around the world curious to follow the United States 2016 presidential election results in real time can now choose to do so without waiting for the television networks to say it’s okay.

[Featured Image By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]