Tom Jory, AP editor who led vote-count efforts, dead at 77

Dec 8, 2021, 8:32 AM | Updated: 8:48 am

Tom Jory, an editor who played a vital role in one of The Associated Press’ most crucial functions — counting the vote for U.S. elections — has died. He was 77.

Samantha Deutsch, Jory’s daughter, said he died Monday at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital of complications after surgery for a broken hip suffered in October.

In the course of a 40-year career, Jory served the AP in a wide array of positions. To each, he brought an easygoing nature that masked an extraordinary intelligence and a boundless capacity for work.

Mike Silverman, a former AP managing editor, recalled Jory’s “spiky sense of humor, his fierce loyalty to his friends, family and the AP, his utter lack of pretension and intolerance for anyone who displayed it, and the dignity with which he took on whatever challenges life threw at him.”

Jory first became involved in AP elections work in 1981. He helped build a databank that collected news and information about political candidates, issues and campaigns. In 1985, he helped design and implement AP’s first nationwide tabulations computers.

Jory worked with the News Election Service, a media consortium responsible for tallying election results, and its successor, the Voter News Service.

But VNS failed spectacularly in 2000, leading the television networks, but not the AP, to declare Florida for George W. Bush prematurely, and was plagued by technical problems in 2002. So in 2004, AP went it alone. It was the only organization collecting, tabulating and reporting the results. Jory supervised a team of more than 50 AP staffers who built a system that could follow 6,860 races, updating them more than 171,00 times. And it worked.

“I felt very comfortable,” Jory said. “We’d done more testing, we were more sure of our data, we were more sure of our delivery.”

Walter Mears, former AP executive editor and Washington bureau chief, said Jory “made the election system work. … On any list of underrated AP stalwarts he ranked near the top. His low-key style made him easy to ignore because he quietly got things done.”

Jory was a native Californian — he grew up in Martinez, and his family had lived in the state for generations. He attended California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and the University of California at Berkeley, and worked at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek and KPIX radio in Oakland before joining the AP in 1968.

He worked for the AP in Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta before being promoted to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, correspondent and Columbus, Ohio, news editor.

In 1974, he transferred to New York and the national desk, then known as the General Desk. Over time, he took on administrative and other responsibilities, including a weekend package of arts and entertainment stories for which he wrote a television column.

Throughout, he was a driving force behind weekly AP softball games in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, generally followed by brunch near his home in Brooklyn Heights.

Jory is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Carol; his daughter Samantha and her husband David; and his grandchildren, Matthew and Annika.

He continued his work for the AP after his 2009 retirement, helping to process collections for the organization’s archives. But he found time to attend all of his grandchildren’s sports and dance events, and to help a friend start and run a business: a jukebox restoration and rental service in Brooklyn.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Joe O'Dea, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Michael Bennet, speaks duri...
Associated Press

Takeaways from first primaries since Roe v. Wade overturned

NEW YORK (AP) — A rare Republican who supports abortion rights found success in Colorado in the first primary elections held since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, while New York’s first female governor positioned herself to become a major voice in the post-Roe landscape. In Illinois, Democrats helped boost a Republican gubernatorial candidate […]
21 hours ago
A technician monitors the self-driving taxi developed by tech giant Baidu Inc. on June 14, 2022, in...
Associated Press

China’s Baidu races Waymo, GM to develop self-driving cars

BEIJING (AP) — With no one at the wheel, a self-driving taxi developed by tech giant Baidu Inc. is rolling down a Beijing street when its sensors spot the corner of a delivery cart jutting into its lane. The taxi stops a half-car-length away. “So sorry,” a recorded voice tells passengers. The steering wheel turns […]
21 hours ago
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the ...
Associated Press

1/6 Takeaways: Angry Trump, dire legal warnings and ketchup

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Jan. 6 committee held a surprise hearing Tuesday delivering alarming new testimony about Donald Trump’s angry, defiant and vulgar actions as he ignored repeated warnings against summoning the mob to the Capitol and then refused to intervene to stop the deadly violence as rioters laid siege. Witness Cassidy Hutchinson, a […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Ratings show Fox News viewers tuning out Jan. 6 hearings

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel is airing the Jan. 6 committee hearings when they occur in daytime hours and a striking number of the network’s viewers have made clear they’d rather be doing something else. During two daytime hearings last week, Fox averaged 727,000 viewers, the Nielsen company said. That compares to the […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

California budget won’t cover out-of-state abortion travel

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — While Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to make California a sanctuary for women seeking abortions, his administration won’t spend public money to help people from other states travel to California for the procedure. Newsom’s decision, included in a budget agreement reached over the weekend, surprised abortion advocates who have been working […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, from the Philippines, attends a news conference in O...
Associated Press

Maria Ressa: Philippines affirms news site shutdown order

HONOLULU (AP) — Filipino journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa announced in a speech in Hawaii Tuesday that the Philippine government is affirming a previous order to shut down Rappler, the news website she co-founded, which has gained notoriety for its reporting of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs. The Philippines’ […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Tom Jory, AP editor who led vote-count efforts, dead at 77