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Walter Watts
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virus: AP Will Be Sole Source of Vote Count
« on: 2004-11-02 12:57:45 »
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AP Will Be Sole Source of Vote Count

Mon Nov 1, 2:22 PM ET   

NEW YORK - News organizations will be relying on The Associated Press
for a quick and accurate count of votes cast in Tuesday's elections,
from top of the ticket races like president, Senate and governor, down
through state legislature.

The AP will use a network of nearly 5,000 stringers, who will be
stationed at county election centers in every state. They will phone in
results to one of several vote entry centers, where clerks will enter
the numbers into AP's computerized tabulation system.

Those returns, from about 6,000 races in all, will then be delivered to
newspapers, Web sites and broadcasters, including the television
networks, in a variety of formats.

In recent elections, AP was one of two organizations collecting the vote
nationwide. The other was Voter News Service, a consortium of AP and
five television networks which also conducted exit polls. VNS was
disbanded after it ran into problems in 2000 and 2002, and the networks
turned to AP for vote counting, while hiring two veteran pollsters to
conduct the exit polls.

AP's system has been enhanced this year with numerous safeguards to
ensure a smooth and accurate operation.

"We've added more redundancy and quality control to an already
well-established vote tallying operation," said John Reid, AP's senior
vice president for Services & Technology. "For instance, AP's systems
contain voting patterns from past elections, and if a number is outside
of those parameters it's double-checked for accuracy."

Because a large number of voters are expected to cast absentee or
provisional ballots, election officials may not finish tabulating their
votes until several days after Nov.
2. AP will keep its system up and running as long as significant new
totals are being reported.

AP, the world's oldest and largest newsgathering organization, has been
counting the vote since its founding in 1848, when Zachary Taylor of the
Whig Party defeated Democrat Lewis Cass.

AP provides content to more than 15,000 news outlets with a daily reach
of 1 billion people around the world. Its multimedia services are
distributed by satellite and the Internet to more than 120 nations.
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Walter Watts
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