How to watch the presidential election results from your laptop, phone, or streamer

No cable? No problem. Here's how you can get the results of the presidential election with only your computer or phone.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
6 min read
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The 2016 presidential election that's been obsessing the nation for months culminates tomorrow, November 8. Election Day has become a charged event characterized by polarized views of the candidates, and while all eyes will be glued to the results, the good news is that you don't need to be glued to your TV to watch the states' votes trickle in.

If you're out and about as the numbers tally, or you've cut the cord and don't own a TV, there are some excellent options for getting the election results straight to your computer, phone or streaming device.

Streaming TV news stations

What you get: Live stream, articles, video clips

Traditionally, broadcast news stations have been the place to go for election coverage, but even if you don't have a TV or you want to watch on the go, you can still get news from your favorite station.

Most of the broadcasters that have been giving the presidential election TV airtime will also post overviews of their coverage, along with a live stream, online. Because these stations are broadcasters and can be picked up by anyone with a TV antenna, you don't need a log-in to get started. Just go to the website and press "play."

For example, networks like CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox all have dedicated landing pages for the elections, and they'll all live-stream their news coverage for free. Not only will you find access to live streams here, but you can also find articles, video clips, and further analysis (Disclaimer: CBS is CNET's parent company).

These live streams work great on your laptop, but you can also watch on your phone. Many of these broadcasters have optimized mobile versions of their websites, and while the look of the site may be slightly different, the content is usually the same. If you want an even more seamless mobile experience, download the broadcaster's news app. CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC all have news apps, and you can access their streams straight from the app. In the case of the CBS News and ABC News app, you don't even need to create an account. Just download the app and tap the live icon for instant access.

If you prefer local news, you may be in luck. Local news stations that provide TV coverage of the election are likely to post coverage on their websites. In the past, this has also included live streams of the election results. Because local news differs depending on location and there are too many to name, just head to the station's dedicated election or live stream section on its website on Election Day. From there it'll be clear if that specific station will post results.

Sling TV

What you get: Live television

If you aren't a subscriber to Sling TV's paid service, you don't have to rule it out as a way to watch election results. Sling TV offers a free 7-day trial that doesn't require any contracts and can be canceled at any time. With Sling TV's most basic subscription package, Sling Orange, you get over 25 channels, including news stations like CNN, where you can watch election coverage remotely.

Sling TV has been a go-to source of live television for cord-cutters. If you haven't already considered it, here's everything you need to know about Sling TV. Sling TV stands out for stripping away all the contracts tied to traditional cable TV. You can download the Sling TV app for Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Xbox One. That means you can watch on your computer, phone or anywhere with internet access.

If you were already mulling it over, you could try it out for Election Day coverage, enjoy a free week of TV, then decide if its worth keeping.

Twitter and Buzzfeed

What you get: Live stream, articles

If you think Twitter or Buzzfeed would be a weird place to watch voter results, think again. Come Election Day, reporters from Buzzfeed will be covering the incoming results, which the site will stream live on Twitter. This isn't the first deal of its kind -- recently Twitter live-streamed events including the presidential debates and NFL games.

The live stream will be accessible on both Twitter's desktop version and the phone app. On Election Day, head to the Moments tab in the Twitter app to view the live stream. If you have an Apple TV, Xbox One, or Amazon Fire TV, you can also view the live stream on your TV, thanks to Twitter's new TV app.

The live stream will be available on at 6pm ET by going to election.twitter.com. You can also access the stream on Twitter's Moments page.


What you get: Live stream, interactive data

This real-time election startup is hoping to change the way we get our election results. Traditionally, major news networks embargo the polling results and don't release the final numbers until they have all been counted. The thinking is that early results could influence people who have yet to vote.

But VoteCastr does things differently. The startup has teamed up with Slate to give everyone a look into the number of votes in a few key states as they come in. If you want some early information on the election, or want to place bets with you friends, this is the place to go.

On Election Day, you'll be able to view these results in VoteCastr's app. This data will also be discussed by VoteCastr's very own live broadcast that will start when the first poll opens and end when the last poll closes. To get more information about the apps and updates, go to the VoteCastr website and enter your name and email.


What you get: Live stream, articles

If you want to get a breakdown of voting results without having to watch a live stream, Politico has you covered. The political media site has an interactive map on its website that will show the election results and break it down state by state. This is great if you want to pull up the map on your computer or phone, and check every so often while it gets updated. Plus, the state-by-state data is broken down in a chart that is quiet pleasant to look at. Politico also offers its own live stream on its website in case you think the map isn't enough.


What you get: Live radio, articles, audio clips, interactive data

If radio is your thing or you'll be stuck in your car on Election Day, tune in to NPR through your radio for its live election coverage. NPR has teamed up with PBS to deliver election news to audiences across digital, television, and radio outlets. NPR will have election coverage and a special live broadcast on the night of the election.

If you want to listen but don't have a radio, you can tune into NPR by going to its website and listen on your computer. NPR's website also has a mobile version that will allow you to listen to its live broadcasts from your phone's browser. Otherwise, you can always download a radio streaming app like TuneIn Radio and access the radio on your phone.

While you are on the NPR website, be sure to check out its professional analysis on all things election-related. Information will come in all forms, including live blog posts, data graphics, and an interactive map. The election night broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and go all the way until 4 a.m. ET/1 a.m. PT, transitioning right into a one-hour recap starting at 4 a.m. ET /1 a.m. PT and then regularly scheduled morning programming on November 9. NPR will also be live on its Facebook page and NPR One App.

Update, 9:30 a.m. PT: Adds more information from NPR.

Update, November 7, 11:30 a.m. PT: Adds context closer to Election Day.