Associate Press Counts the Votes

The process
Instead of relying on crowd-sourcing or vulnerable technology, our 50-state network of local reporters have first-hand knowledge of their territories and trusted relationships with county clerks and other local officials. These stringers collect votes at a local level. We also gather results from state or county websites and electronic data feeds from states. On election night, race callers in each state are armed with a wealth of additional detailed information from our election research team, including demographics, the number of absentee ballots, and political issues that may affect the outcome of races they must call. Race callers are part of AP’s Decision Desk, which will declare winners in more than 7,000 races in the 2020 general election.
1. Collect the votes
Our stringers collect votes at a local level from county clerks throughout the night.

2. Phone in the results
Stringer phones in results to a vote entry clerk in one of our Vote Entry Centers.

3. Key in the data
A dedicated vote entry clerk keys in results.

4. Double check, and check again
Votes are subject to an intense series of checks and verifications. In 2016, we were 99.8% accurate in calling U.S. races, and 100% accurate in calling the presidential and congressional races for each state.

5. Deliver the results – fast
Results are posted on member websites and used in broadcast, newspaper stories, etc. Results are updated throughout the evening and the days following Election Day.

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