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How KING 5 will declare winners in the 2020 election

KING 5 will call races based on NBC News projections as well as local election return data that shows a trailing candidate cannot overcome a deficit to win.

KING 5 reports the latest election results we receive directly from the Washington state Secretary of State's Office, county elections offices and The Associated Press.

Washington state's initial returns were released Tuesday night and are updated daily as soon as they are released by each county. They are reported here.

For local and statewide races, KING 5 will declare winners based on calculations that determine if a trailing candidate cannot overcome the deficit to win. This calculation uses data including how many votes have been counted and how any many ballots have been received but haven't been counted yet.

As KING 5 is the Seattle-based NBC News affiliate, we will primarily use NBC News as our guiding source in declaring national race winners.

According to NBC News, the station's Decision Desk "uses exit poll data to determine whether uncompetitive races can be called" early on Election Night. 

"Most races are called based on analyses of precinct- and county-level vote returns," NBC News said in a recent article. "The analyses also examine differences between early and Election Day votes. In close contests, a careful analysis of how much of the vote has not been counted is a crucial part of the process."

NBC News said no race is projected until the Decision Desk is at least 99.5% confident of the winner. The desk did not project a winner until after the last scheduled poll-closing time in a state.

If The Associated Press calls a race before NBC News, KING 5 will attribute it to The Associated Press but will be transparent that NBC News has not called that particular race yet.

According to The Associated Press, state-based analysts and editors at AP's Decision Desk in Washington, D.C. use vote count along with demographic data about a state and statistics about advance voting to make race calls.

“AP does not make projections or name apparent or likely winners,” said David Scott, a deputy managing editor who helps oversee AP's coverage of elections. “If AP cannot definitively say a candidate has won, we don't speculate.”

Although KING 5 called some races on Election Night and may continue to call races in the days after, results are not made official until the Washington state Secretary of State's Office certifies the results Dec. 3.