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VNS partners regroup

The six former partners in Voter News Service (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Cable News
Network and the Associated Press) have a new game plan for counting the vote and
projecting winners for the 2004 elections.

Sources said an agreement is in the hands of lawyers and, barring any
unforeseen problems, should be finalized shortly.

Under the new agreement, the AP would provide the vote count. It's been doing
one for years, both for its own customers and more recently as a backup to VNS,
which was shuttered last month after failing in two straight elections.

A separate and independent entity operated by veteran researchers/pollsters
Warren Mitofsky and Joseph Lenski would do exit polling for projections and

Mitofsky and Lenski provided such a service for CNN for the 2002 elections as
a backup for VNS. It worked, so now they will provide an expanded service that
all of the major news organizations would subscribe to.