Tuesday, November 02, 2004

AP becomes sole source for vote-counting on election day

The Associated Press (AP) of the United States becomes the sole provider of vote-counting on the election night, the first time in four decades, the wireless news service said Monday.

The Americans will go to polling stations Tuesday to make their choices for the next president, the new House of representatives, one-third of Senate and some governors.

The move was seen as a step to avoid the repeat of failures in the last presidential election, in which controversy erupted in the state of Florida over the vote-counting and a recount was then called.

In the past, the AP and the Voter News Service (VNS), a companythat was formed in 1964 to count votes and conduct exit polls, were the sources of vote-counting data for the media organizations.

However, VNS was blamed for faulty data that led to the wrong calls in the 2000 election and its failure in the mid-term election of Congress in 2002, and was then disbanded.

Six major US media organizations such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and the AP have formed the National Election Poll(NEP) to replace VNS.

This time, the media organizations signed contracts with two veteran polling companies -- Mitofsky International and Edison Media Research that will conduct exit surveys for the Nov. 2 presidential election.

The two polling companies agreed that the AP, which has been counting the vote since its founding in 1848, would be their sole source for vote counts. Each of the news organizations will use data provided by NEP to make its own projections on the election night.

Also, the TV networks have promised that they would be careful projecting winners and would not call states that span two time zones until all of the polling places have closed, the AP said.
The AP hired about 5,500 people to work in 4,600 counties across the United States for vote counting on the election night.

The computer system that gather the data was used successfully during the presidential primaries early this year and full dress rehearsals were conducted on Oct. 23 and 30, the AP said.

Source: People's Daily Online (Chinese)

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