In 1994, California put live returns from a statewide election on the Internet, becoming the first state to do so.
Since then over half of the states, 28, have joined California in offering online election results, says Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation (CVF). Twenty-nine states are posting a blow-by-blow account of the race between George Bush and Al Gore on the Web today, along with tallies from congressional, state and local contests.
"I think it's a great trend, because a lot of the news coverage has been focused around the presidential race, while voters are interested in campaigns up and down the ballot," says Alexander, whose non-profit, nonpartisan organization wants to use new technologies to improve democracy. "I think by making this information available, it helps all voters get involved in election night."
Most of the sites offering online election results are run by a state agency, typically the secretary of state's office. Florida has a particularly comprehensive, easy-to-read site that's linked to each of the state's 67 counties and is being hosted by Florida's Division of Elections.
Every state is using the Internet to educate voters about candidates running for state and local office, according to CVF. A partial list of states putting today's election returns on the Internet follows: