CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There are many questions surrounding how and when races will be called on Election Day. At WCNC Charlotte, we source results from NBC News and The Associated Press. Both outlets have processes in place to handle the influx of votes, counts and results.
On Election Day, the National Election Pool (NEP) will gather vote data and exit poll data by interviewing about 100,000 real voters as they leave polling places. This is the only survey of real voters in the country that measures who voted and why they voted that way.
On November 3, votes will be tabulated in all 50 states and Washington, DC for state races, ballot measures, and house races.
Data reporters across the country will call in results all day long on a county-by-county basis, as well as, supplement that information through computer feeds and websites.
Most races are called based on analyses of the precinct and county-level vote returns. In close contests, a careful analysis of how much of the vote has not been counted is a crucial part of the process.
If you hear “too early to call” that means there might be a significant margin but statistical standards haven’t been met OR there is not enough data to determine the margin with certainty.
"Too close to call" means the final margin between the candidates will be less than 5 percentage points.
Only some sources will make "projected winner" announcements. Others steer clear of naming likely winners. NBC News will, AP News will not.
If you hear "apparent winner", that signifies that a projected winner has been announced but it’s tight and results may depend on a potential recount and/or an accurate confirmation.
All vote results are checked and verified. If any data seems irregular or inconsistent with past election behavior, there will be rigorous quality control experts working to investigate and certify.
Results will be made available as soon as possible on Election Day, but it’s expected that reporting will be slower this year due to the pandemic. For multiple reasons, we could see a results delay, due to the increase in the number of voters this election and increase in mail-in ballots.
WCNC Charlotte is here for you and no question is too small! Text us your election questions to (704)329-3600, so we can help get it answered before Election Day.