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The Associated Press tabulates results in 4,818 contested races, including 379 statewide races, nationwide.
That’s in addition to declaring thousands of uncontested races. There are even 13 uncontested contests for the 435-seat U.S. House of Representatives.
Tuesday’s races include 33 spots in the Senate and 11 governorships.
The AP also will tally 177 statewide ballot measures, along with state legislative races in 44 states, hundreds of state constitutional offices, judicial and mayoral races, many local ballot measures — and on and on it goes.
When does this start to wrap up? The first polls close in parts of Indiana and Kentucky at 6 p.m. EST. The last, in a small sliver of Alaska, shuts at 1 a.m. EST.
ART OF THE CALL
Ever wonder how a news organization calls a race at poll closing, when not one single vote has been counted?
For landslide elections, exit polls sometimes provide enough data to determine the winners. Workers stand outside polling places, asking voters to fill out confidential questionnaires about how they voted.
For more competitive races, analysts may use vote tallies from randomly selected voting precincts to supplement data from the exit polls. Workers report vote totals soon after the polls close, giving analysts a quick look at how the election is shaping up in that state.
For races that are even more competitive, news organizations rely on the AP vote count, the only national source of election results in all U.S counties and other vote-reporting jurisdictions. The AP is deploying more than 5,000 workers today to collect vote results and report them to news organizations — and the public — around the world. The AP will report results for nearly 7,000 races.
Government officials get the final say. Congress verifies the Electoral College votes for president and vice president, while state and county officials certify local election results.
TASTE OF DEMOCRACY
It’s not at all scientific, but it is delicious: A Roseville, Minn., bakery is offering Obama and Romney cookies to test its customers’ preference in the presidential race.
Roseville Bakery owner Amy Johnson says she’s done her cookie poll in the past two elections, and it correctly predicted the winner both times.
It boosts cookie sales, too. Customer Muriel Sharpe read about the cookie poll online and when she heard Obama was behind, she drove in Tuesday morning and snatched up two dozen Obama cookies.
She passed some out to other customers. Then she bought eight more.
Despite her efforts, Romney still held an 830-to-731 lead over Obama in cookie sales.
Johnson says the political cookies have sparked some heated discussion between customers and gotten her young staff more engaged in what’s going on.
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