Hey, it could be worse: The Five Strangest Elections in U.S. History

Okay, first, let’s all agree on one thing: no matter who you are voting for today, this election has been pretty nasty. It seems like elections have been getting worse and worse of late with the constant bombardment we get from friends and strangers alike on social media and the internet nowadays.

But if you think this election season was bad, then you haven’t looked into the history of U.S. presidential elections lately. Seriously, it’s gotten real.

LiveScience has boiled down all the hairy elections from our past to the five strangest, nastiest presidential elections in U.S. history.

For example, did you know that Ulysses S. Grant was in the race against a dead guy?

In 1872, incumbent Ulysses S. Grant had an easy run for a second term — because his opponent died before the final votes were cast.

Grant had the election in the bag even before his opponent, Horace Greeley, died, however. The incumbent won 286 electoral votes compared with Greeley’s 66 after election day. But on Nov. 29, 1872, before the Electoral College votes were in, Greeley died and his electoral votes were split among other candidates. Greeley remains the only presidential candidate to die before the election was finalized.

And let’s not forget that awkward case of “hanging chads” in 2000…

Democrat Al Gore beat Republican George W. Bush in the popular vote in the 2000 election, but the electoral vote was a close, and controversial, call. As election night drew to a close, New Mexico, Oregon and Florida remained too close to call.

It would be Florida that determined the winner, but not until the Supreme Court weighed in. For a month, the outcome of the election remained in recount limbo, as Gore’s campaign contested the vote count in several close counties and the Florida and U.S. Supreme Courts engaged in a tug-of-war over whether to halt the recounts or extend their deadlines. Among the challenges faced by the hand counts: determining whether semi-attached scraps of paper, or “hanging chads,” on punch-card ballots should count as votes.

Ultimately, on Dec. 12, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that a statewide recount was unconstitutional, alongside a further decision that the smaller recounts could not go forward. The decision meant the original vote counts stood, giving the election to Bush.

And that’s not even the worst of ’em! Click here to see them all.

Happy voting everybody!

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3 comments so far


  1. I’m just so glad it is finally over! No more junk mail and recorded phone calls for candidates or propositions. It’s done and we just have to hope for the best.

  2. Thank God for books and escapism from all the hateful comments from both sides of the aisle on my Facebook wall! Reading and knitting – that’s where I’ll be!

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