AP Style

Elect to follow these Election Day AP rules

My fellow journalist, as election coverage increases the closer we get to November, we found a few AP rules you should elect to keep in mind when talking about the events of the day when the next President of the United States of America will be decided.

primary – Do not capitalize: the New Hampshire primary, the Democratic primary, the primary.

primary day – Use lowercase for any of the days set aside for balloting in a primary.

Election Day, election night – The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

election returns – Use figures, with commas every three digits starting at the right and counting left. Use the word to in separating different totals listed together: Jimmy Carter outpolled Gerald Ford 40,827,292 to 39,146,157 in 1976.

Use the word “votes” if there is any possibility that the figures could be confused with a ratio: Nixon outpolled McGovern 16 votes to 3 votes in Dixville Notch.

Do not attempt to create adjectival forms such as the 40,827,292-39,146,157 vote.

vote tabulations – Always use figures for the totals.

Spell out below 10 in other phrases related to voting: by a five-vote majority, with three abstentions, four votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority.

For results that involve fewer than 1,000 votes on each side, use these forms: The House voted 230-205, a 230-205 vote.

To make totals that involve more than 1,000 votes on a side easier to read, separate the figures with the word to to avoid hyphenated adjectival constructions.

For other governmental terms, check out our past posts on debate coverage and the Supreme Court of the United States.

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