AP counts the votes for a waiting world

Nov. 5, 2012
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Supervisors make final preparations at the AP's Eastern Election Center, one of four AP vote tabulation centers nationwide, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, at AP's New York headquarters. (AP Photo/Chuck Zoeller)
NEW YORK – As the world watches the results of the U.S. elections roll in on Tuesday night, it’s The Associated Press that will be counting the votes on which many news organizations will base their projections and declare winners.
The news industry and the public rely on the AP to provide fast and reliable results.

The AP "will deploy more than 5,000 workers on Nov. 6 to collect vote results,” AP recently noted in an overview of how the media figure out who won. “In all, AP will report results for nearly 7,000 races.” (http://apne.ws/U4ABES).

AP Director of Election Services Brian Scanlon gives details about AP's vote count operation in this video: http://t.co/Oe4GAINb.

AP stringers in counties across the country send local vote counts via email, fax, phone and the Web to one of four AP election centers to be tallied. There are two centers in Spokane, Wash., one in New Jersey and one at AP headquarters in New York City. Here’s a look at one of our operations in Washington, from The Spokesman-Review: bit.ly/TyeXXs.

The AP, along with the five U.S. television networks, is also a member of the National Election Pool, which conducts exit polls and gathers and shares information collected by Edison Research.

AP’s own race calling draws heavily on our vote count, but also on other factors, such as the exit polls, and background information that our journalists collect in preparation for the election, as bureau chiefs past and present outline here: http://bit.ly/1BQ4hrQ

When it comes to calling a race, AP values accuracy above all.

David Pace, AP’s news editor for special projects and elections, said it well in an interview with The Wall Street Journal: “Our standard line is, if there is any doubt, we don’t call it. We want to be pretty close to 100% certain that we’re right before we make a call” on.wsj.com/PspyCF.

AP’s election coverage reaches far beyond the numbers. In recent months, 26 AP journalists produced a 33-part series – “Why It Matters” – that provided expertise and context on virtually every issue of the election. Background on the series, plus a link to the stories, can be found here: http://bit.ly/RwfcBM.

AP’s website offers a more detailed look at our vital extensive election night operation at http://bit.ly/OqMAWC

AP’s election night coverage plans are described at http://bit.ly/S0RCdv.

AP’s Big Story microsite will gather all of AP's extensive election coverage in one place. The page (http://bigstory.ap.org/topic/election-2012) will be updated throughout the day and night. In addition, readers can follow AP political photographers on Instagram using the hashtag aponthetrail: http://apne.ws/YKUsrr.

In addition, AP’s corporate website is the place to check for any special announcements that may be made on election night regarding the vote tabulation process: http://bit.ly/JHba3v.

About AP
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP. On the Web: www.ap.org.

Media queries about AP’s election coverage and vote count can be directed to the media relations team:

Paul Colford
Director of Media Relations

Erin Madigan White
Media Relations Manager

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