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Understanding the Success of 1960's Alternate Electors and the Failure of 2020's: A Historical Comparison

Understanding the Success of 1960's Alternate Electors and the Failure of 2020's: A Historical Comparison

Understanding the Success of 1960's Alternate Electors and the Failure of 2020's

The 1960 Presidential Election Controversy

A presidential election in November many years ago resulted in a clear winner after a heated race. However, the popular vote in several states was immediately questioned. In one state, auditors found errors in the vote count, while in others, there were credible allegations of election fraud. This led to a court challenge, and electors from both parties met at a state capitol to conduct the electoral vote. Two certifications were sent to Washington, one declaring the Democratic candidate the winner, and the other the Republican. The Republican vice president, who was also a candidate in the race, accepted the Democratic electors and dismissed the Republican ones. This marked the end of the 1960 presidential election.

The Role of Hawaii and Richard Nixon

The state in question during this election was Hawaii, and the vice president was Richard Nixon, who was running against Democrat John F. Kennedy. Nixon would have won if a mere 11,000 votes across five battleground states had swung in his favor. Fast forward sixty years, and history almost repeated itself when Republican electors from seven states sent alternative electoral certifications to Washington, citing allegations of election fraud.

The 2020 Presidential Election

However, in 2021, these alternate slates were rejected. On January 6th, in a joint session overseen by Republican Vice President Mike Pence, Congress certified Democratic candidate Joe Biden as the winner over President Donald Trump. Many Americans may not remember the 1960 election or be aware of its similarities to the 2020 election. The 1960 Hawaii election served as the basis for the alternate elector plan promoted by some of President Trump's associates after the 2020 election.

Legal Consequences

Since last year, Republicans who participated in the plan in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona have faced criminal charges. President Trump is also facing related charges in a federal court in Washington. Despite the similarities, the two elections have key differences that led to the success of the alternate electors in 1960 and their failure in 2020.

The Importance of Recounts

In the 1960 election, the first vote count in Hawaii showed Kennedy winning by 92 votes. However, after a second tally of the totals, Nixon led by 141 votes. Democrats requested a recount from a state circuit court. But Republican Lt. Gov. James Kealoha, who was acting governor at the time, had no legal authority to reopen the ballots or invalidate the results. So he certified Nixon as the winner. A judge ordered a full recount of the state’s ballots on Dec. 13, 1960, just six days before the electoral vote. This court order was crucial to the success of Hawaii’s dual elector plan because it placed the outcome of the popular vote in legal limbo. While a winner had been certified, a state court had taken action that might lead to a different result.

State-Certified Electors and the 2020 Election

In 1960, the ongoing recount created a dilemma for Hawaii’s acting governor. If only the Republican electors voted, Nixon would carry Hawaii even if Kennedy was later found to have won the most votes. To avoid missing out on its first presidential election, both sets of Hawaii electors met at Iolani Palace, the seat of the Hawaiian government. They voted for their respective candidates one minute apart. Kealoha signed two certificates of ascertainment and sent them to Washington. This certificate of ascertainment is a second important difference between the 1960 and 2020 cases. Some of the 2020 electors knew about the Hawaii case and used it as a rationale for their efforts.

Closing Thoughts

This historical comparison between the 1960 and 2020 elections provides a fascinating insight into the complexities and challenges of the electoral process. It raises the question of how future elections might be influenced by these precedents. What are your thoughts on this matter? Share this article with your friends and discuss it. Remember, you can sign up for the Daily Briefing, which is delivered every day at 6pm.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

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