(AP) - Fifty-one separate elections - one in each state and one in Washington, DC. Each with different rules and regulations, and no national elections commission to tell the world who wins on Election Day.
How, then, to determine who won the highest office in the land?
That’s where the news media comes in — and has done so since 1848, when it declared the election of Zachary Taylor.
FULL AP STORY: EXPLAINER: Why do the media call races in US elections?
The Electoral College actually chooses the president under the U.S. Constitution, acting on the popular vote across the republic.
But its work takes weeks. In that strange vacuum, news organizations emerged as major players in announcing the victor based on data collected from election offices around the country.