National Election Pool
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2011)|
The National Election Pool (NEP) is a consortium of American news organizations formed in 2003 to provide "information on Election Night about the vote count, election analysis and election projections." See NEP's FAQ. Member companies consist of ABC News, the Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News. The organization relies on the Associated Press to perform vote tabulations and contracted with Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International to "make projections and provide exit poll analysis."
The precursor was Voter News Service, which was disbanded in 2003, after controversies over the 2000 and 2002 election results. The NEP plan is largely the suggestion of CNN, which used Edison/Mitofsky as consultants in the past. Mitofsky headed the original pool that preceded VNS.
The organizers of the pool insist that the purpose of their quick collection of exit poll data is not to determine if an election is flawed, but rather to project winners of races. Despite past problems, they note that none of their members has incorrectly called a winner since the current system was put in place.  However, to avoid the premature leaking of data, collection is now done in a "Quarantine Room" at an undisclosed location in New York. All participants are stripped of outside communications devices until it's time for information to be released officially.
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