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House offers bill for TV election coverage

Measure would establish uniform poll closing time

NEW YORK — A bipartisan team of House lawmakers proposed legislation Tuesday that would prevent television nets from projecting winners in presidential elections before polls have closed.

The legislation, proposed by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Rep. W.J. “Billy” Tauzin (R-La)., would establish a uniform poll closing time for presidential elections. The bill is intended to prevent nets from announcing winners before polls have closed.

On Nov. 7, the nets declared Vice President Al Gore the winner in Florida even though polls were still open in parts of the state and much of the country. The nets later retracted the projection.

Tauzin and other Republicans have charged that the early call for Gore may have discouraged voters, especially on the West Coast, from casting ballots for Bush.

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