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U.S. presidential election, 1796

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Presidential electoral votes by state.Because electors couldn't distinguish between their presidential and vice presidential choices until the passage of the , the map above assumes that the presidential votes are exactly the votes for Adams or Jefferson.  This leads to an anomaly:  Maryland is listed as having cast 7  votes and 4  votes when Maryland had only 10 electors.  The problem is that at least one Maryland elector cast his ballot for a Jefferson-Adams ticket.
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Presidential electoral votes by state.
Because electors couldn't distinguish between their presidential and vice presidential choices until the passage of the Twelfth Amendment, the map above assumes that the presidential votes are exactly the votes for Adams or Jefferson. This leads to an anomaly: Maryland is listed as having cast 7 Federalist votes and 4 Republican votes when Maryland had only 10 electors. The problem is that at least one Maryland elector cast his ballot for a Jefferson-Adams ticket.

The U.S. presidential election of 1796 was the first to expose potential flaws in the original Electoral College system.

Incumbent Vice President John Adams was a candidate for the presidency as part of the Federalist Party ticket with Thomas Pinckney as his running mate. His opponent was Thomas Jefferson, who was joined by Aaron Burr on the Republican ticket.

Under the system then in place, Electors had two votes, but both were for President; the Vice President was the runner-up in the presidential race. Each party intended to get around this by having some of their Electors cast one vote for the intended presidential candidate and one vote for somebody besides the intended vice presidential candidate, leaving their vice presidential candidate a few votes shy of their presidential candidate. Unfortunately, these schemes were complicated by several factors:

  • All electoral votes were cast on the same day, and communications between states was extremely slow at that time, making it very difficult to coordinate which Electors were to tank their Vice Presidential votes.
  • There were rumors that southern Electors pledged to Jefferson were coerced to give their second vote to Pinckney in hope of electing him President instead of Adams. Indeed, as it turned out, all eight South Carolina Electors as well as at least one Pennsylvania Elector cast ballots for both Jefferson and Pinckney.

The result was that too many Adams electors failed to cast their second vote for Pinckney, and so Adams was elected President while his opponent, Jefferson, was chosen as Vice President. Jefferson would leverage his position as Vice President to attack President Adams' policies, which would help him reach the White House in the following election.

The problems arising from this election, and from the election of 1800, were to lead to the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Contents

General election

Results

Template:Start U.S. presidential election box Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:U.S. presidential election box row Template:End U.S. presidential election box (a) The popular vote is not tabulated because (1) only 9 of the 16 states used any form of popular vote and (2) pre-Twelfth Amendment electoral vote rules obscure the intentions of the voters.

Breakdown by ticket

Template:Start U.S. electoral vote box Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:U.S. electoral vote box row Template:End U.S. electoral vote box (a) Wikipedia's research has not yet been sufficient to determine the pairings of 20 electoral votes in Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; therefore, the possible tickets are listed with the minimum and maximum possible number of electoral votes each.

There were quite a few split tickets, with an elector casting one vote for the head of the Republicans, Jefferson, and the other for a Federalist:

  • All eight South Carolina electors (along with at least one Pennsylvania elector) voted for native son Thomas Pinckney.
  • At least two North Carolina electors voted for native son James Iredell.
  • There was even at least one elector in Maryland voting for an Adams-Jefferson ticket.

Electoral college selection

Method of choosing Electors State(s)
each Elector appointed by state legislature Connecticut
Delaware
New Jersey
New York
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Vermont
state is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district Kentucky
Maryland
North Carolina
Virginia
each Elector chosen by voters statewide Georgia
Pennsylvania
  • two Electors appointed by state legislature
  • each remaining Elector chosen by state legislature from list of top two vote-getters in each Congressional district
Massachusetts
each Elector chosen by voters statewide; however, if no candidate wins majority, state legislature appoints Elector from top two candidates New Hampshire
  • state is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district
  • each county chooses an electoral delegate by popular vote
  • Elector is chosen by electoral delegates of the counties within their district
Tennessee

See also

Template:Uspresidentialelections

Reference

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