I'm sure I'm not the only one who is glad November 4th is finally here. I've had enough politics, election coverage and negative advertising to last me until the 2016 election. Regardless, there are some pretty cool free tools available for election junkies like myself to help you follow the incoming results throughout the day and even make some of your own predictions about the election's outcome.
The first tool you should check out is the MSNBC Decision '08 Dashboard. This is a portal for following all aspects of the election throughout the day. It provides the most recent news feeds, streaming video and an interactive electoral college map where you can look at the most up-to-date information from MSNBC's analysts or make your own predictions as the polls start to close. The page also provides some customization capabilities, allowing you to keep the information that is most important to you at the top of the page. I'm intending to keep this page open throughout the night.
Have you seen the Microsoft Surface application Chuck Todd has been using to plot electoral college predictions over the past several weeks? Well, getting a Surface shipped to all of you might be hard, but MSNBC is providing you with a version of this application that will run on your PC. The NBC Decision 08 Electoral Map is a connected Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application that imports current information from MSNBC, but also allows you to clear the map and make your own predictions state-by-state. You can even save your maps locally and reload them as the night goes on.
Here's a quick start guide on using the app:
- After you install the application, go to Start->Programs->MSNBC->NBC Decision 08 Electoral Map
- The “i” logo has the Information on the app and how to use it
- The initial load is Chuck Todd’s Predictions as of this week
- You click on a candidate and then on a state to give them the state
- Ex: Click on Obama and on WA to make it blue
- If you click WA again, it will turn light blue and “leaning Obama”
- If you click WA again, it will turn gray and will become a toss-up state
- You can save your prediction as an XML file
This is the most technologically advanced election in history and, as an electorate, we have a plethora of tools at our fingertips to help us participate in this historic event. I encourage you to try these tools out today but, more than that, be sure to get out and cast your vote1