The Internet and high technology are playing historic roles in today's elections. Political analysts view this season as a harbinger for future election years as campaigns focus increasingly on the Web and Netizens make the democratic system an interactive one online.
This season has also been marked by an unprecedented push into bare-knuckled politicking by Silicon Valley companies, which have traditionally distanced themselves from direct campaigning. Their first political battleground is the fight over Proposition 211, a California initiative that would make it easier for investors to sue companies over investments gone awry.
Tonight's results will be covered in various venues on the Internet, from local to national levels. NEWS.COM has provided extensive coverage of technology's impact on politics and offers a comprehensive list of sites that voters can use to keep track of the races and participate in the process.
Other NEWS.COM political coverage
Web sites for voters
--For the national elections, one of the best sites around is Campaign '96 Online. Produced as a public service by US Web Networkers, the site provides links to the home pages of every candidate running for federal office. Users may search by presidential candidate, congressional candidate, or by state.
--the-election.com provides election information as well as links to several other election sites.
--A nonpartisan Web site for Silicon Valley, Smart Voter offers personalized election information based on a voter's address. Smart Voter provides background information for more than 125 candidates in California's Santa Clara and San Mateo counties as well as online forums on propositions and measures.
--Democracy Network, an offshoot of the Center for Governmental Studies, tries to differentiate itself from the field by allowing candidates direct, unfiltered access to databases that they can constantly update. The site provides information on national candidates, as well as California candidates and ballot initiatives.
--Congressional Quarterly's online site provides in-depth analysis, and also allows users to learn about candidates in their district by searching by name, state, or zip code. It features a message board called Sound Off, where hard-core political junkies can post messages about candidates, issues, and the historical significance of the election.
Election returns in real-time
If you want to find out what's going on election night without having to turn on the television, several organizations large and small are hosting sites that promise to fulfill all your needs. Some of those are as follows:
--CBS News will be providing real-time election coverage with dynamically generated maps and exit polling data for local and national races in every state. CBS News is using Silicon Graphics's WebFORCE servers and Bluestone's Sapphire/Web to deliver the results.
--Politics Now will provide the complete election coverage, including news, vote tallies, exit poll data, interaction, and analysis.
--Online NewsHour, the Web site of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, will have detailed election night coverage including transcripts and RealAudio recordings of the NewsHour's election night coverage; continuously-updated analysis of the regional returns and key Congressional races; and responses from delegates who attended the national political conventions.
--For true political junkies, CNN's All Politics will host an election night chat. Hosted by Greg Lefevre, users can join CNN journalists and political analysts such as Bill Press, Robert Novak, Roll Call's Susan Glasser, and others to discuss issues including the use of negative advertising and a look at congressional races and ballot initiatives, and what challenges lay ahead for the new Congress and winner of the presidential election.
--Not to be left out, MSNBC is also is providing live state by state charting of election returns based on incoming precincts. Updates will be posted every 15 minutes. MSNBC will also feature a live Webcast, real audio feed accompanying an online chat.
--The New York Times will update articles through the night and will be revising returns in races for the presidency, Senate, House, and governorships.
Several newspapers also are sponsoring sites that will feature locally updated news.