Networks asked not to call election

Lawmaker makes plea to execs for voter's sake

A senior lawmaker is pressing the major television networks to refrain from calling the winner of the presidential election until all voting polls have closed Tuesday.

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter Thursday to the heads of seven networks asking each to hold off declaring a winner while voting polls are still open. Dingell said his concern was that a premature call “could depress voter turnout.”

“We are all too familiar with the voter confusion caused by the erroneous early calls by various cable and television networks of the 2000 presidential election,” Dingell wrote. “And many, myself included, believe that when television stations call elections based on the results in a few Eastern states, voter turnout elsewhere in the nation could potentially be lower than it would otherwise have been.”

All polls are expected to close by 10 p.m. ET.

Identical letters went to Jeff Zucker, prexy-chief exec of NBC Universal; Leslie Moonves, president of CBS Corp.; Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group; News Corp. prexy Peter Chernin; Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide; Roger Ailes, chairman and chief exec of Fox News; and Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC.