A look back at the AP’s role in counting votes

The Associated Press will count the nation’s vote in real time Tuesday and report the results of presidential, congressional and state elections — as it has for more than 170 years. 

The way the information is compiled on election night may have changed — cellphones as opposed to landlines, electronic data feeds as opposed to “election tabulators” fitted with rolls of paper, journalists crowding around computer screens, as opposed to teletype machines.

But the AP’s role in getting accurate results out to the nation and the world remains the same.

“There is no national election commission in the United States that tells us who won on Election Day,” said David Scott, a deputy managing editor who helps oversee AP’s coverage of elections. “Statewide results aren’t available in every state, either. If we want to know who the next president will be, we’ve got to do the math ourselves — county by county nationwide.”

Workers crowd a room in the offices of The Associated Press in New York City on election night, Nov. 3, 1914. (AP Photo)
Associated Press staffers tabulate elections returns, Nov. 8, 1938. (AP Photo)
Journalists work on election night in Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 1938. In background hunched over a writer is Milo Thompson, Washington chief of bureau, who directed the operation. (AP Photo)
Associated Press editors are look over stories on election night, Nov. 8, 1938, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo)
Tabulators record the Associated Press election returns in the offices of IBM in New York City on Election Day, Nov. 3, 1942. The returns are received on the teletype machines (background) and recorded with the aid of the numeric punching and printing machines in the foreground. (AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman)
Associate Press journalists in the Washington bureau tabulate election returns, Nov. 5, 1940, keeping the score on both electoral and popular votes for the nation. The staff handled returns which flooded in over an 85,000-mile wire network. Standing is Brian Bell, left, chief of bureau for Washington, D.C. seated with back to camera is William L. Beale, Washington news editor. (AP Photo)
This battery of tabulating machines plays an important part in the gathering of the election returns by the Associated Press in New York, Nov. 3, 1942. The returns, coming in by teletype, are classified and counted with the aid of these and other machines of special design. (AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman)
Associated Press news editor Ray Crowley, left, and chief of bureau William L. Beale, in bowtie, both in foreground, work on election night in the Washington, D.C. bureau, Nov. 4, 1958. Other identifiable staffers include: Ed Creagh at typewriter at left; Ed le Breton, standing behind Beale. (AP Photo)
Associated Press Washington, D.C., staffers, Frank Vaille, left, and Gordon Brown keep up to date on the Governor’s tabulation board on election night, Nov. 4, 1958. (AP Photo)
Staffers work on election night at the Washington, D.C. bureau of The Associated Press on Nov. 3, 1964. (AP Photo/File)
Associated Press journalists work in the Washington bureau on Election Day in 1972. (AP Photo)
Associated Press journalists David Espo, bureau chief Jonathan Wolman and Walter Mears work on Election Day, November 1992, in Washington. (AP Photo)
Associated Press journalists Ron Fournier, right, and Harry Rosenthal work on election night in Washington, November 2000. (AP Photo)
Then-Associated Press Washington bureau chief Sally Buzbee, talks with Stephen Ohlemacher, who in 2020 is the decision desk editor, in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, at the Washington bureau of The Associated Press during election night. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)
Staff members of The Associated Press Television Network work in master control at the Washington bureau of The Associated Press in Washington, Nov. 8, 2016, as returns come in during election night. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

By : The Associated Press

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s