The next step of America’s needlessly drawn-out presidential selection process is almost here. The general election and electoral college votes are over and done with; now, Congress needs to meet and certify the results. If you’re wondering how to stream the electoral college vote count, you need look no further than your good friends at C-SPAN.
On Jan. 6, Congress will meet in a joint session in the House of Representatives to certify the electoral vote count. This means that the vote count is a congressional proceeding, and that means C-SPAN will air it. The president of the Senate — that is, Vice President Joe Biden — will oversee this process.
Even though it’s almost 40 years old, C-SPAN is still the best place to watch live congressional proceedings. As a content provider for political events, it’s second to none: C-SPAN has no commercials, no news ticker at the bottom of the screen, and perhaps most appealingly, no pundits or political commentary of any kind. Although it began as a cable network, you can now stream it online for free as well, at any time.
So, for the smoothest livestream of the electoral vote count, go to C-SPAN’s website. But that probably won’t be your only option — cable channels like MSNBC and Fox News will most likely air portions of the vote count. But there’s no guarantee that they’ll broadcast the entire thing, or that the proceedings won’t be interrupted by some manner of “breaking” news. And again, those airings will be full of live commentary and on-screen interruptions that you may not want to deal with.
The electoral vote count itself will probably be a formality this year. There were no major disputes regarding the vote, and the tally wasn’t especially close — Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 37 electoral votes. As such, the congressional proceedings will essentially be a rubber-stamping of what’s already happened. Two weeks after Congress certifies the electoral vote, Trump will be inaugurated, and at that point, the 2016 election will finally be over.
If nothing else, this reveals how unnecessarily protracted America’s presidential elections are. It’s really a four-step process. First, there’s a general election in every state, the results of which are then certified by each state’s Secretary of State. Then, the electoral college meets to cast their votes. After that, Congress certifies the electoral college vote, and then the new president is inaugurated. Even if the electoral college wasn’t fundamentally undemocratic (which it is), the process would still be much more drawn out than it really needs to be.
Nevertheless, it’s the process we’re stuck with for the time being, and if you’d like to tune into one of the essential parts of that process, C-SPAN is the way to go.