Top Web Sites Gear Up for Election Coverage

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By: Shawn Moynihan

Leading news sites will be offering plenty of text, audio, and video election features online all day Tuesday and into Wednesday.

At The New York Times’ site, readers can click through an interactive election guide that looks at the campaign by the numbers, with an electoral college calculator, swing-state analysis, and congressional races. A Web Watch column that aggregates selected political information from around the Web will help cast an even wider net. In addition, a forum will be provided for readers to share their experiences at the polls.

WashingtonPost.com’s Online Editor, Doug Feaver, said the Post newsroom will feed the Web site exclusively. Also on tap are live discussions online with the newspaper’s staffers and political pundits including Ryan Thornberg, Washingtonpost.com’s political editor, and Terry Neil, the site’s chief political correspondent.

A regular series of staff-generated dispatches will be featured, as well as a “Presidential Scorecard” on the home page which will allow visitors to click for popular and electoral vote results. Also on the homepage will be a link to Washington-area congressional races. Streaming video from MSNBC will add to the mix.

Recalling the 2000 election debacle, Feaver noted the Post had a story declaring Al Gore president “for about 12 minutes” around midnight on Nov. 7: “I’ll bet everybody’s going to be a little more careful about [announcing results] this time around. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little more caution.”

Feaver added, “Like many people, I’ll be happy if we have a clear winner on Wednesday.”

LATimes.com, which was among the first newspaper Web sites to extensively track the 2004 election from state to state by utilizing an interactive map, promises the same depth of coverage as results begin to arrive and continue through the evening. An entire section devoted to several key races in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties will also see constant updates.

Visitors to USAToday.com can monitor results in all 50 states in the newspaper’s “Battleground States Tracker.” States will turn red and blue for President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, respectively, in real time as wins are officially announced.

CNN.com and FoxNews.com will both combine live video streams from reporters with graphics showing results in the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections. FoxNews will also offer results from state referendums.

Both Web sites will offer congressional maps illustrating the “balance of power” between the two parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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