How AP Calls
Election Winners

AP journalists are armed with on-the-ground knowledge of their territory. No other organization can match AP’s
50-state coverage.

The Associated Press has a long and successful track record of calling election winners quickly and accurately for members and customers around the world. 

The responsibility for calling races rests with experienced journalists in each state. They are armed with on-the-ground knowledge of their territory that no other national news organization can match. In addition, they have a wealth of detailed information from AP’s election research team, including demographics, the number of absentee ballots and political issues that may affect the outcome of races they must call.

On election night, race callers in each state are assisted by experts in AP’s Washington bureau who examine exit poll numbers and votes as they are counted. A "decision desk" in Washington, headed by the Washington bureau chief, has the final signoff on all top-of-the-ticket calls.

“Calling races, from the national level to state legislatures, is a vital function the AP provides to its members and customers. Being able to accurately and quickly call those statewide and state-level races is critical to their ability to provide strong election night coverage.”
—Sally Buzbee,Washington Bureau Chief

  • step2

    Stringer phones in results to a vote entry clerk in Spokane, Washington or Vote Entry Center.

  • step4

    Votes are filtered through
    checks and verifications.

  • step1

    Stringer collects votes from the County Clerk throughout the night.

  • step3

    Vote entry clerk keys in results.

  • step5

    Results are posted on member websites, used in broadcast, newspaper stories, etc. Results are updated throughout the evening in 30-second and 5-7 minute intervals.


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