Because we for some reason have made Columbus Day a holiday (celebrating… colonialism, imperialism, and violence, I guess?) but somehow not Election Day, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be working or in classes tomorrow on Election Day. I, for instance, will be running around campus helping students, tutoring people, driving to and from my apartment, and trying to keep up with this website. It seems unlikely that I will have access to a TV at any point, and limited access to a computer, so obviously I will go completely up the wall because I can’t get constant updates, poll point by poll point, as the day progresses. Even though the formidable Nate Silver prediction algorithm still has the probability of Obama winning as very high, that is no match for my crippling anxiety. I need to know ALL THE THINGS, and I need to know them RIGHT NOW.
But no fear, because of course, there’s an app for that. Several, actually! Here are some things you can download to your phone so you can keep abreast of Election Day happenings even as you’re rappelling down a mountain, driving a bus full of nuns and orphans, or being a campus tour guide. Whatever your thing is, you can still freak out over Ohio with the rest of us.
You’ve probably been getting much of your news about the election from the NYT already, so their specifically election-focused app kind of makes sense. It gives general up-to-the-minute political coverage, but more specifically for our purpose, it also gives live election results and county-by-county maps. It will give you updated Nate Silver/FiveThirtyEight projections, and “a database of polling results from a variety of organizations.” The app is technically free, but this is the fine print:
“The app is free to download and includes free access to the top six news stories. Once you download the app, you can choose to subscribe and get full access to all features. Existing subscribers to NYTimes.com + Smartphone Apps or All Digital Access can simply log in to get full access to this app as part of their existing subscription. For unlimited access to this smartphone app, subscribe for just 99¢ for your first 4 weeks.”
Sneaky! We get it, you guys. You have a pay wall. Mazel tov. It’s up to you to decide which “all features” you need access to, or whether it’s worth paying for (because really, while paid apps are meh, 99¢ is also less than a bag of Doritos, so.) Also, this app only has 3 stars in most customer ratings, perhaps because of the secret-paying-for-features thing.
Despite the mysterious hyphenation, this app appears to be actually free, so it has that going for it. And while customer reviewers say that it may not be the best app if you need actual facts about candidates’ positions or news stories, it does promise a lot for poll and numbers junkies, including “full vote results, live streaming videos, plus on-going real time live updates via our innovative, exciting new “Live Wire.” Not sure what “Live Wire” is or whether it’s something to actually get excited about, but the inclusion of a local voter’s guide is great, and there’s an exciting and dynamic red-and-blue color scheme that reminds me of the Daily Show, so.
If you’re a real political superfreak, there’s a good chance that you already have the Politico app on your phone. Because, you know, what else are you going to do while waiting in line at the pharmacy than read about how Obama is polling among Congregationalist Toyota owners between the ages of 24 and 55? This isn’t a separate Election Day app, it’s the same thing you may already have, but it does promise “LIVE coverage, results, maps, and more!” for the special day. Since LIVE is in all caps, it seems like it will probably be excellent. Sidenote, if anyone downloads all of these apps and can report back to headquarters and tell us what this constant reference to “more!” is referring to, it would be much appreciated.
Cons: This app is only available for iPhone and also costs two dollars. Pros: It calls itself “The Presidential Election App,” and is very well reviewed. Although I can’t see it because I don’t have an iPhone, it appears to be pretty straightforward: it gives you a national map and identifies which states have gone blue and which have gone red, and gives you updated information on polls. Interestingly, it also has a historical function, so if in the middle of Election Day 2012 you find yourself nostalgic for the birth of the Carter administration, you can whisk yourself back to the red-and-blue map for that year. If you’re an iPhone owner who also enjoys lighting their cigarettes with dollar bills, let us know what you think of that one!