by Kevin Stoda
Free Thinking electors have existed, but they have been few in number. There have been one in each election in the years 1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1988, and 2000. And they have never influenced the outcome of the presidential election.
However, these free thinkers in the Electoral College did influence elections starting from 1792 onward. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr received votes for president in the 1792 electoral college system. They received 5 votes total while George Clinton received a whopping 50 votes in that years electoral college. (In 1792, he [Clinton] was chosen by the nascent Jeffersonian Republican party as their candidate for vice president. While the Republicans joined in the general acclamation of Washington for a second term as president, they objected to the allegedly “monarchical” attitude of Vice President John Adams. Under the system then in place, votes for Vice President were not differentiated from votes for President.) Some of these were favorite son or favorite neighbor votes. that is, they had not received significant vote at the local levels or state levels to actually have received a proportional representation of any sort.
In 1796, John Adams barely won the electoral infighting with 71-68 victory of Jefferson. Meanwhile, other candidates got various votes during the electoral college events of that election: Thomas Pinckney (59), Aaron Burr (30), Samuel Adams (15), O. Ellsworth (11), George Clinton (7), John Jay (5), James Iredell (3), S. Johnston (2), George Washington (2), John Henry (2), Charles C. Pinckney (1) . Some of these were favorite son or favorite neighbor votes votes.
In 1800, America’s first electoral tie occurred when both Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson received 73 votes in the Electoral College’s first vote. Meanwhile, John Adams received 65, Charles C. Pinckney 64, John Jay (1). Again, some of these were favorite son or favorite neighbor votes votes.
Prior to ratification of the 12th Amendment, votes for President and Vice President were not listed on separate ballots. Although John Adams ran as Jefferson’s main opponent in the general election, running-mates Jefferson and Burr received the same number of electoral votes. The election was decided in the House of Representatives, with 10 State delegations voting for Jefferson, 4 voting for Burr and 2 making no choice.
Despite the institution of the 12th amendment, free thinkers continued to vote for favorite sons or their favorite politician or leader in subsequent elections: In 1808, again George Clinton (6) received votes in the Electoral College as electors from New York split their votes.
In 1824, a coalition of parties and electoral voters came together to defeat Andrew Jackson’s first attempt at the presidency. John Quincy Addams was the one elected that year, but a large number of electors voted for others than either Jackson or Adams–some of this OCCURRED BECAUSE STATES SPLIT THEIR VOTES 2 or 3 WAYS at that time: William H. Crawford (41) & Henry Clay (37).
NOTE: I have not yet had time to proof some of the details in this writing. I welcome others to look into this short history and help me clarify and add to the details.
END OF PART 1