Electoral Commission Decides Presidential Election

1876

Democrat Samuel Tilden wins the popular vote in the presidential election by a margin of less than 250,000 votes (out of 8.5 million votes cast) against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. On the night of the election, both candidates, as well as most of the national media, assumes Tilden is the winner. Tilden’s 184 electoral votes are one short of the necessary majority while Hayes’s 165 electoral votes leave him 20 votes shy of winning the presidency. After 16 weeks of controversy, an ad hoc Electoral Commission established by both parties awards 20 contested electoral votes to Hayes, giving him a one-vote win over Tilden.