Where do major news companies collect their vote tally data in US elections from? My intuition tells me that there has to be an agency of some sort that aggregates vote tally data before disseminating it out to news networks, but I can’t seem to find any information about it.

I’m probably way off, but I am very curious how vote tally data is collected and also how the actual process of verifying votes/counting on a national level works.

To clarify, I’m curious about the tallied vote counts that get reported throughout election day. Example being, AP reporting Wisconsin being XX% blue with n% of precincts reporting.

  • 1
    Do you mean polling as in research conducted by polling companies or polling as in tallies votes in elections?
    – Dale M
    Nov 11, 2020 at 5:44
  • Tallied votes during an election. Ill update my post with better detail.
    – ajlow2000
    Nov 11, 2020 at 16:05
  • 1
    I replaced the references to 'polling' with 'tally'. 'Polling' is often refers to unofficial surveys prior to an election. There's also a thing called 'exit-polling' which consists of surveys as voters leave the polling place (where they cast their official ballot).
    – JJJ
    Nov 11, 2020 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


For election day, ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC News cooperate in what's called the National Election Pool with a firm called Edison Research to get real-time vote count information. (Edison also provides exit polls, election projections and delegate estimates.)

The Associated Press provides a similar vote-tallying service for its clients, which include Fox News.

AP's director of media relations explains the process in this blog post, noting:

We pursue multiple sources for results, from state and county websites, to state and county data feeds, to our network of stringers at county election tabulation centers, and in some cases from precincts or municipalities. We vet these sources over the course of multiple elections and plan upcoming elections accordingly, after much research and discussion. This effort involves a lot of people — some 5,000 stringers, vote entry operators and quality control personnel.

  • 3
    Election "day" is probably a misnomer at this point... Nov 11, 2020 at 17:00

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