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Election site jumps the gun

Thanks to an embarrassing snafu, voters across the country could have learned who won the election--before the votes were ever cast.

Thanks to an embarrassing snafu, voters across the country could have learned who won the election--before the votes were ever cast.

ABCNews.com mistakenly posted "complete" election results this evening while preparing for tomorrow's reportage, though the news organization does not appear to have linked to them directly from its front door.

The areas where dummy results could be seen were first reported in the Net's controversial Drudge Report, which has mirrored the pages in question. The pages also were available to people on the open Web.

An ABC spokesperson confirmed the posting was in error, and was caused when the organization tested out its election pages. ABC promptly hid the pages and posted the following statement: "Earlier tonight, during testing of the site, we inadvertently posted results and erroneous predictions on the outcomes of races. There was no bias intended by what we posted and the predictions do not reflect the reporting or news judgment of ABCNews. We are taking steps to ensure similar mistakes do not happen in the future."

The results were there for anyone who had the correct URL. But it wasn't clear how easily one could have obtained it. Web sites often post beta versions of larger pages and sections to test them, but don't link to them--or at least hide the URLs--so visitors don't accidentally happen upon them.

In this case, however, it appears that the fake results were posted on ABCNews.com's main election results page.

ABCNews.com has a content sharing agreement with CNET News.com for technology news.