The 2020 U.S. presidential election seems to be longer than ever before.
Originally, the victory or defeat could be seen on the night of election day or in the early morning of the next day. However, this time, due to the existence of mail-in ballots, it was not until four days after the election that many American media predicted Biden’s victory based on the results of the count.
Subsequently, Trump accused election fraud and filed lawsuits in several states, and the transition was delayed for half a month to start.
On the day of congressional certification on January 6, Trump supporters rushed into the Capitol to ask both houses to refuse to certify Biden’s victory, causing the certification process to be interrupted for a while.
The tortuous election came to an end until Vice President Pence announced Biden’s victory in a joint meeting of the two houses.
So, what other postponed general elections in American history?
1800 general election: 36 rounds of provisional voting
In 1800, in the fourth presidential election of the United States, the Democratic Republican Party and the Federalist Party nominated two candidates respectively for president and vice president.
However, the electoral rules were not perfect at that time. Each member of the electoral college could vote for two votes, but there was no difference between the votes cast for presidential candidates and vice presidential candidates, which meant that the person who got the most electoral votes could be elected president, even if he did not come to run for president at all.
It was coincidence that two Democratic-Republican candidates, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, won 73 electoral votes each, drawing, which forced the outgoing House of Representatives to hold provisional elections.
Provisional elections stipulate that a candidate can only win if he wins an absolute majority of votes.
Both parties have their own focus, Federalist MPs lean towards Burr, and the Democratic Republican Party support Jefferson, resulting in 35 rounds of voting without results.
It was not until Alexander Hamilton, a member of the Founding Father of the United States, lobbied Federalist members to support Jefferson that Jefferson won the 36th round of voting and was successfully elected the third President of the United States.
1824 General Election: House of Representatives Votes for President
In the 1824 general election, Andrew Jackson won a majority of votes from the voters and the electoral college, but according to the Twelfth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, only a candidate who wins an absolute majority of electors, that is, 131 votes, can be elected president. Jackson, who only gets 99 votes, is not eligible.
Therefore, the U.S. House of Representatives had to hold provisional elections.
As a result, 24 members of the House of Representatives voted for the top three candidates.
In the end, John Quincy Adams won 13 votes and defeated Jackson, who received only 7 votes, to be elected President of the United States.
According to the BBC, Clay, the fourth presidential candidate, had negotiated with members of the House of Representatives and Adams, claiming that he could transfer his supporters to Adams to ensure his victory, but asked Adams to nominate him as Secretary of State after his successful election to the presidency.
However, both parties denied this.
Jackson and his supporters believe that Clay’s transfer of supporters is a “corrupt bargain”.
According to ABC, Jackson won the popular vote for his advocacy of “anti-corruption”. He won the general election but failed to be elected president.
He also triggered calls for the abolition of the electoral college system in the United States.
1876 General Election: President elected only 2 days before inauguration
The opponents in the 1876 election were Republican Rutherford Burchard Hayes and Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden.
Tilden received 184 electoral votes and Hayes received 165 votes, only 19 votes between the two.
At that time, 20 electoral votes from four states were still pending, and these 20 votes immediately became the focus of bipartisan competition.
Subsequently, the competition between the two parties gradually became “white-hot”.
Both sides declared victorious in Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina; one elector in Oregon was replaced because he was considered illegal as an “elected or appointed official”.
According to the BBC, since the House of Representatives was adjourning at that time, Congress established a bipartisan Federal Election Commission (FEC) in January 1877, consisting of five representatives, five senators and five Supreme Court justices, including seven Republicans, seven Democrats and 1 independent person to determine the ownership of the last 20 electoral votes.
The ownership dispute finally ended two days before the inauguration day of the President of the United States. Hayes won the election committee vote by 8:7, with a total electoral vote of 185:184.
Hayes defeated Tilden by one vote to be elected president. This is also the smallest gap in voting in the electoral college in the history of the U.S. presidential election so far.
At that time, the Civil War had just ended and the United States was in a period of reconstruction.
In order to avoid escalating bipartisan contradictions and falling into a situation of division again, the Democrats and the Republican Party reached an agreement: Democrats recognized Hayes’ election, but Hayes could not be re-elected, and Republicans needed to withdraw from the Southern states.
This agreement is also known as the Compromise of 1877.
2000 general election: 36-day vote counting disturbance
The 2000 presidential election is one of the most tortuous elections in American history and the only election submitted to the Supreme Court for judgment.
The opponents were then Governor of Texas, Republican George W. Bush and Democratic Al Gore.
Initially, Gore led George W. Bush with 267 electoral votes, and Florida’s 25 electoral votes were immediately the focus of the election. According to Florida data, Gore is only about 1,800 votes behind George W. Bush. Due to the small gap in the number of votes, the vote count was recounted in accordance with Florida law.
According to the BBC, the technical problems in the Florida ballot have attracted people’s attention. First of all, Florida uses “hanging hole ballots”. If the hole is not thoroughly punched, there will be residual pore debris, and even only holes in the ballot paper, which requires manual reapproval.
Secondly, Florida uses “butterfly ballots”, with candidates’ names arranged on both sides and punched in the middle, which will also confuse local voters.
After the recount, the Florida government announced that George W. Bush won by a narrow margin; Gore immediately asked some counties in Florida to recount the votes on the grounds that there were technical problems with the votes.
In order to stabilize the vote advantage, the Republican Party filed a lawsuit in the Southern District Court of Florida on November 11 of that year to stop manual counting, but it was rejected. Florida Secretary of State and Republican Harris immediately asked the Democrats to submit the final results within two days, otherwise the vote would be invalidated.
Dissatisfied with the deadline set by Harris, Democrats appealed to the Florida District Court for a delay in submission. However, the Florida District Court refused to postpone the request and returned the decision to Secretary of State Harris. Democrats also sued the Florida Supreme Court, and after the court ruled, they agreed to count manually and postponed the announcement of the results to November 26.
George W. Bush appealed to the judgment and sued the case to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court first sent the case back to the Florida Supreme Court and asked for a retrial.
After the Supreme Court of Florida again ruled in favor of a recount, the Supreme Court began to formally intervene.
On December 12 of that year, the Justice of the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Democratic Party’s recount in some counties of Florida was unconstitutional, and required Florida to complete the unified state standard count by the deadline, but the deadline at that time was only two hours before the judgment, and Florida had to release it.
Abandon manual counting. Gore then said he withdrew from the race “for the sake of democracy and unity”.
At this point, it took 36 days for the counting of votes to come to an end.