|When people think of crazy Florida elections, most will think of the Bush/Gore debacle of 2000. However, that was nothing compared to the 1876 election between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden.
After the votes were counted, Florida election officials refused to give the vote count as it seems that there were more votes cast than eligible electors. The overwhelming majority of the votes went for the Democrat. South Carolina and Louisiana also had reporting problems. With 20 electoral votes between the three states, that was the exact number required for Hayes to overtake Tilden. November turned into December with no resolution. Talk of another civil war became the rage.
Eventually, it was decided that the only way to solve the disputed election was to set up an electoral commission. The makeup would be seven Democrats, seven Republicans, and one Independent. That way, no one could complain.
At least, that was the plan. In reality, the Republicans rigged the commission by first attempting to bribe the Independent member by giving him a senate seat in Illinois. The member refused to serve on the election commission. The Republicans appealed to four Supreme Court Justices to replace him. All four were Republicans. All four selected another Republican who promptly voted with the Republicans on every issue, giving them the controlling vote. As a result, Hayes was awarded Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana’s electoral votes, handing him the presidency. Thus, ended the first Florida election misfortune.
As always, contact us for more detailed information about any of the items in this edition. Enjoy the fall and happy voting!
The JEJ Team