How networks used AR for election night coverage 2020

Augmented reality has had a prominent role in election coverage in the United States, but it was pared down a bit for this year’s 2020 general election, while internationally it was giant.

CBS News, which built a new set in Times Square just for the election, strategically included a large CBS eye decal on the floor in front of the large, socially distanced anchor desk that served as a sort of portal out of which AR elements could appear.

This included 3D models of the Capitol and a floating, angled ring showing a rough layout of the Senate chamber. Inside this graphic, specific desks were then highlighted to represent which seats were in play.

Meanwhile, specific races could be pulled up on top of the circle, with the red and blue backgrounds serving as “bar charts” for current votes.

Another option included a floating, angled semi-transparent map of the U.S. used to highlight both poll closing times and the current state of the electoral map.

Accents to this look included low curved segments with the time of the next closing and countdown.

The electoral map display used the border ring to include current totals while floating rectangles on either side served as a key to color coding and as representative blocks for those tiny states in New England that are the bane of election map designers.


Thankfully, CBS did not attempt to repeat its rather confusing data viz using the Washington Monument to track electoral vote models or anything else.