US ELECTIONS

Counting the vote and calling the races

Months of preparation and years of expertise lead up to AP’s coverage of Election Day. When it came time to call the races this year, we scored a 99.9 percent.

A nationwide network of vote counters, journalists in every state and statehouse, and expert election analysts and political reporters make AP the definitive source for election results. We have been counting the vote and declaring the winner in the U.S. presidential elections since 1848, and are the sole provider of comprehensive, independent vote counts to the media–from the White House to Senate, House to gubernatorial races and state legislatures to ballot initiatives.

Obama 51%

62,615,406 votes

Romney 48%

59,142,004 votes

Counting the vote

In all, 4,653 races were counted on Election Day in 2012, each through a detailed process of vote counters, Vote Entry Centers and a system of rigorous checks. Brian Scanlon, AP’s director of Elections and Financial Products, takes us through the process, step by step.

US ELECTIONS

Months of preparation and years of expertise lead up to AP’s coverage of Election Day. When it came time to call the races this year, we scored a 99.9 percent.

99.9%

AP director of race calls David Pace and his team of

37 callers

11 election analysts

4,653 races

on election night and the next day, with a remarkable accuracy rate of 99.9 percent

A nationwide network of vote counters, journalists in every state and statehouse and expert election analysts and political reporters makes AP the definitive source for election results. We have been counting the vote and declaring the winner in the U.S. presidential elections since 1848, and we’re the sole provider of comprehensive, independent vote counts to the media–from the White House to senate, house to gubernatorial races and state legislatures to ballot initiatives.

Obama 51%

62,615,406 votes

Romney 48%

59,142,004 votes

Counting the vote

In all, 4,653 races were counted on Election Dayin 2012, eachthrough an intricate and unequalled process of vote counters, Vote Entry Centers and a system of rigorous checks.

Calling the race

At AP’s Washington bureau, and in bureaus throughout the country, a team of race callers and analysts headed by Director of Race Calls David Pace puts their political expertise and deep understanding of local politics and voting history to work to call the races. In 2012, they scored a 99.9 percent accuracy rate. Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee explains how.

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    From left to right: First lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden acknowledge the crowd at their election night party, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago.

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    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, left, and President Barack Obama spar during their second presidential debate, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012.

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    Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at Carter Machinery in Abingdon, Va., Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.

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    Vice President Joe Biden talks to customers during a stop at Cruisers Diner, in Seaman, Ohio, on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. This photo received much attention, but Biden was actually sitting in a separate chair.

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    President Barack Obama, right, is lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer, left, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant in Fort Pierce, Fla., during an unannounced stop, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.

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    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, left, and his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., call out people in the crowd at a welcome home rally, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in Waukesha, Wis.

    AP Photo / Jeffrey Phelps

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    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney makes a stop to talk with voters at Millie's, in Nantucket, Mass. , before attending a fundraising event on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012.

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    Actor Clint Eastwood addresses an empty chair at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.

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    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama share a dance during the Commander-In-Chief Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center during the 57th Presidential Inauguration Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington.

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