What are some examples of "electoral tie" in the history of the USA and how they were resolved? Were some presidents elected by the Congress? Was there ever free voting in the electoral college?

  • What do you mean by "free voting in electoral college"? If you mean "faithless electors", that is discussed in details on existing questions on this site; and on Wikipedia article
    – user4012
    Nov 10 '16 at 0:55

It has happened exactly twice where Congress had to decide the results of the presidential election. The 1800 election resulted in a tie between a potential president and vice presidential candidate. At the time, each elector voted twice, the person with the most votes won, the person with the second most votes became VP, so long as the first had at least half of the EC votes. This was the first year of political parties, with a presidential candidate running with a vice presidential candidate. They each received the same number of votes, leading to much confusion.

The second situation happened in 1824. 4 candidates received EC votes. In the end, it was not the person with the most original EC votes that became president (Andrew Jackson), but rather the person with the second most (John Quincy Adams). This was very controversial in the day, and the same election between the two resulted in Andrew Jackson winning the 1828 election.

  • 1824 wasn't a tie but a case where no one got the required votes to win. It is also an example of why more than two candidates can cause problems in the election.
    – Joe W
    May 4 at 20:31
  • It was a tie in the sense that Congress had to decide it, but I suppose technically you are correct. May 5 at 12:02
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    All of that is explained in my answer. It is close enough to a tie that I'm inclined to leave it in my answer. May 5 at 14:25
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    The question includes the specific phrases "Were some presidents elected by the Congress? Was there ever free voting in the electoral college?". Thus it is required to add in the details about 1824 to have a proper answer. May 5 at 15:05
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    1824 definitely belongs here, but whether it counts as a "tie" depends on whether you personally define "everyone lost" as a tied result (in any context) or if you restrict that to meaning receiving the exact same scores (electoral votes). I can see either one being considered a valid definition.
    – Bobson
    May 5 at 16:53

1824 is the best example. This tie was not a traditional tie, it is the type of "tie" that happened in the regular Senate election in Georgia in 2020: there was one candidate who won a plurality of both popular and electoral votes, and another candidate was selected. The problem was that the plurality was not also a majority.

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    1824 is not a tie an any sense of the word. What happened in 1824 is that no one reached the constitutionally required amount of electoral college votes which means that no winner could be declared. As for your Georgia example that isn't relevant as the electoral college only applies to the presidential race. Also for the electoral college the popular vote only matters at the state level and not the national level.
    – Joe W
    May 4 at 21:19
  • I explained it, read the context May 4 at 21:22
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    You missed my point, the election in 1824 is not a tie in any sense of the word. The results where 99, 84, 41, 37 electoral votes for each of the 4 candidates and not a single one was the same as another.
    – Joe W
    May 4 at 22:09

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