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VNS laid to rest

It's back to square one for network election coverage -- at least the
vote-tabulation part of it. Voter News Service is dead.

After two consecutive elections in which the service failed to perform
adequately, the network partners (CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, Cable News Network and the Associated Press) have
voted to dissolve the consortium.

After VNS blew the Florida count in 2000, the partners embarked on a
multimillion-dollar revamp, much of which was to have been in place and working
by last November's election.

But there were still so many bugs in the new system that none of the exit-polling data were available (and still aren't to this day), and even parts of the
main vote-counting process failed to deliver on time.

All of the partners used AP's vote-counting service as a backup.

In a prepared statement, the partners said they were currently reviewing "a number of
strong options" for counting the vote in the next