AP election opportunity caters to EWU students

By Alex Miller, Staff Writer

During election years, The Associated Press gives EWU students the opportunity to earn some extra money before the holiday season while also giving students a chance to become more politically involved.

When votes are being counted in counties across the nation, EWU students hired by the AP are there to help out.

Of all the universities in the country to choose from, the AP chooses to work with students at Eastern.

According to the AP website, “When the first polls close, they’ll be ready to start phoning in the raw vote as it is reported by the counties. They’ll place their calls to one of AP’s four election desks, the largest of which is the Western Election Center at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington.”

Dana Bloch, director of state data center for the AP, said, “Back in 2000, AP went to a regionalization level of election coverage. We used to do it in all of our bureaus, and we got too large for doing it at our bureaus.”

As far as why it takes place at Eastern, Bloch said, “We created this data center in Spokane for the general elections and we partnered with Eastern to do this large venue.”

Bloch said he would like to continue working with EWU.

“We want it to [remain at Eastern], we love the relationship with Eastern. This facility is a student facility, so it’s always up to you,” he said.

On a typical work day, “We will get calls from reporters that we have in the field,” Bloch said, “In California if you have 55 counties, then each one of them is going to call into this group here and our reporters here are going to take those numbers and punch them into a database,” said Bloch.

Bloch said learning about elections is another opportunity students will receive.

“I think it gives them incredible insight into how elections work. Everything you see on TV, on the internet, on the radio, all that on national election coverage is coming out of the AP,” said Bloch. “This kind of gives you an insight into how the sausage is made.”

According to Bloch the work the AP does provides quick results.

“Someone’s got to report the results. If the AP wasn’t doing it, then you may not know who’s in control of the senate or congress for weeks and weeks.”

The event is taking place on Nov. 4, as national election results come in.