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Governors ask networks to delay announcements until polls close

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Governors ask networks to delay announcements until polls close11/18/96 NATIONAL--Nine Republican governors from Western states in late October asked the…

Governors ask networks to delay announcements until polls close

11/18/96

NATIONAL–Nine Republican governors from Western states in late October asked the national television networks to refrain from announcing the presidential election winner until the polls closed in the West.

However, representatives from ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC said they used their original coverage plan of announcing the winner after one candidate received the 270 electoral votes needed to be elected President.

In a letter to ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and NBC, the governors stated that the early release could harm the western states’ voters and government. They wrote, “Indeed, if voters believe their votes make no difference in selecting a president, they won’t vote at all. As a result, depressed turnout could affect the outcomes in tight races for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and in state and local contests as well.”

CBS President Andrew Heyward wrote in a letter to Haley Barbour, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, that research conducted by the networks reveals no evidence that releasing the Presidential winner before the polls close in the West influences voter turnout there. Heyward added, “The answer to this dilemma is one that has been espoused for a number of years: a uniform poll closing law.”

The governors who signed the letter to the networks were Philip Batt of Idaho, Jim Geringer of Wyoming, Bill Janklow of South Dakota, Gary Johnson of New Mexico, Michael Leavitt of Utah, Marc Racicot of Montana, Edward Schafer of North Dakota, Fife Symington of Arizona and Pete Wilson of California.