The longest day of the year in the US isn’t June 21. It’s Election Day.
The first town to open up its polls, Dixville Notch in New Hampshire, did so at midnight, eastern time. The last polling station to close will do so 25 hours later, at 9 pm local time in Alaska (1 am ET).
For those who aren’t in line at the polls or involved in election day logistics, but would like to stay involved in the process, here’s something to do before results come trickling in later today: Watch votes being counted.
Several US counties have set up live cameras to stream absentee voters being counted. It’s a common practice around the world, with the aim of building confidence in the voting process and reinforce transparency.
It’s a rather mesmerizing sight, like those cameras showing stunning landscapes or endangered animals—but for democracy. It’s meditative.
Here, for instance, are the employees of Jefferson County, Kentucky—with face masks, visors, and gloves—moving in sync as they sort through the mail-in ballots.
This is King County, Washington, where several live cameras are pointed to different rooms were various passages of vote counting happens, from signature verification, to opening of ballots, to tabulation.
Los Angeles County, California, has several live cameras set up, too, looking over the various rooms where ballot checking and tallying will occur.
Denver County, Colorado, has one video combining several streams:
In Union County, New Jersey, a live cam shows vote tabulation machines:
Milwaukee County, in Wisconsin, broadcasts vote counting with audio, too:
For the next few hours—or, who knows, days—you might grow impatient. Waiting for the results can be stressful, the urge to question the process and ask what can possibly be taking so long can become strong.
Remember these cameras when impatience hits you. Take a deep breath, watch as the ballots move through the process, and remember—America’s already held 58 presidential elections. It will make it through once again. Probably.