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Arizona Secretary of State Reagan concerned projections will discourage voting

(AP Photo/John Locher)

PHOENIX — Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan is concerned that one media group’s decision to do things differently this election might discourage some voters from going to the polls.

In the 1980 election, some media outlets including NBC declared Ronald Reagan the winner over Jimmy Carter at 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time. That was while people in Arizona, California, and several other western states were still in line waiting to cast their votes at the polls.

There were reports that people in those states just gave up and went home instead of voting.

Since then, the networks have waited until the polls close to project winners on election night. But now, a company called Votecastr is planning to give real time polling updates on Election Day, including presidential and Senate races in such swing states such as Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

It plans to publish its results on the online news magazine called Slate.

The New York Times says that in Colorado, the group expects to make its first predictions at 4 a.m. Mountain Time, before the polls there are even open. Those projections will be based on absentee ballots and an early vote count from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

“If they start hearing information that’s already out there that one of the candidates is really far ahead, they may think it’s (voting) really not worth their time,” Reagan said.

But she insists voting is worth everybody’s time.

“This last election showed us that in Congressional District 5,” said Reagan. “You’re talking 27 votes, and, at one point, nine votes separated two congressional candidates. Yes, every vote does count.”

Andy Biggs beat Christine Jones in that Republican Primary race.

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