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Resolving election disputes

Early returns indicated one candidate had won, but state-controlled election commissions invalidated some of the results, claiming fraud. The Congress was divided; one party controlled the House, the other the Senate. 100,000 armed men were said to be ready to march on Washington if their candidate was not elected. It was a constitutional crisis!

This was the situation in the Presidential Election of 1876 and it was ultimately resolved by Congress through the Electoral Commission Act of 1876 and to prevent problems in the future, they enacted the Electoral Count Act of 1877.

It’s a fascinating slice of American history, and gives insight on how questions about the election of the American President can be dealt with by Congress. Check it out at the Wikipedia.

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10 Responses to Resolving election disputes

  1. avatar
    Reality Check May 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    This could have been a good discussion of the disputed election of 1876. 🙁

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Hey, start one. I’m sure it will generate more interest than what we’ve seen so far ❗

    I didn’t get too deep into the story, but it looks like Congress got it right, certifying votes that made Hayes the winner.

    I moved the off-topic comments over to the “Insuring” thread.

    Reality Check: This could have been a good discussion of the disputed election of 1876

  3. avatar
    Northland10 May 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    It still could be. I am rusty on this one so I do not have much offer yet. Hopefully, somebody else might.

    Reality Check:
    This could have been a good discussion of the disputed election of 1876.

  4. avatar
    Reality Check May 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    As they say the devil is in the details. In Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida the review of the ballots all went in favor of Hayes. Republicans ran all those recounts. It sounds like Florida 2000 times 3. The House chose to not get into the details of the state counts. It appears to me the House abdicated its job to figure out exactly what happened and punted the job to the contrived electoral commission. Hayes had to win every disputed state to win the election. Tilden won the popular vote overall and initially won the vote in all three states before local officials awarded the states to Hayes by throwing out ballots.

    I think the formation of the electoral commission in the middle of the dispute was also unconstitutional. That smacks of changing the rules in the middle of the game. I think Tilden would have had a much better equal protection violation argument than Bush had he pursued it.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 12, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    Ah. This article contains the word “ascendant” not in the sense of an ancestor.

    realist: http://www.scribd.com/doc/93192877/EW-STOUGHTON-The-Election-Conspiracy-Bubble-Exploded-The-North-American-Review-v125-n258-1877

  6. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny May 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    A blast from the past, before 2000 changed a lot of people’s ideas:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20090510105846/http://www.cresswellslist.com/ballots2/1876_who.htm

    There are shades of Florida 2000 here, with ballot papers deliberately confusing for people who could not read or write.

    And taking into account Mississippi (but forgetting Florida), it could be argued that Hayes deserved to win.

  7. avatar
    Northland10 May 13, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    Reality Check: As they say the devil is in the details. In Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida the review of the ballots all went in favor of Hayes. Republicans ran all those recounts. It sounds like Florida 2000 times 3.

    Against the backdrop of a recent civil war, reconstruction, and newly enfranchised voters (with those attempting to un-enfranchise those voters), the context is substantially muddier than 2000. However, I think there are shades of the same happening.

  8. avatar
    Reality Check May 13, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    One interesting point in the Wikipedia article was that there were rumors of a back room deal in the House to get a final vote through and that the Republicans agreed to stop Reconstruction in exchange for Hayes being elected. Can you imagine the news coverage this would get today? The election lasted from early November to within a day or so of the scheduled Inauguration in early March. This was before the Lame Duck Amendment moved the Inauguration forward to January 20.

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Politics is the art of compromise, a fact lost on the current Congress.

    Reality Check: One interesting point in the Wikipedia article was that there were rumors of a back room deal in the House to get a final vote through and that the Republicans agreed to stop Reconstruction in exchange for Hayes being elected. Can you imagine the news coverage this would get today?