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AP makes the calls in national races

I’m flipping between channels watching our country being divided between red and blue states, and some call states much quicker than others. How did the Mail Tribune and Ashland Tidings determine how to award states in Wednesday’s coverage?

— Anthony S.

Tony, we here at SYA Headquarters are your experts on coverage of local elections, but we defer to The Associated Press on those too-close-to-call decisions.

Mail Tribune Editor Justin Umberson says the AP map is preferred for election coverage because that matches the articles we choose.

“The AP did award Arizona to Biden hours before several TV networks did, but then it was behind others on Rust Belt states,” Umberson says. “The pandemic really threw a wrench into what was thought to be a comfortable lead in an election. Between slow counting, tight races and states doing mail-in voting for the first time, we need more patience than ever.”

For the 2020 returns, The AP, Fox News and the University of Chicago used a new voter system survey instead of the more traditional exit polls.

For elections between 2003 and 2016, the AP and five major TV networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and CNN — were members of the National Election Pool, which supplied them with election night information and analysis.

As stressful as the 2020 waiting game has been, it doesn’t come close to the 2000 Florida fiasco of being declared for Al Gore, then revoked, then “won” by George W. Bush before 35 days of recounts and talk of hanging and pregnant chads.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.