The Electoral Count for the Presidential Election of 1789«back | home
After New Hampshire ratified the Constitution on 21 June 1788, being the ninth requisite state to do so, the Confederation Congress passed the Election Ordinance on 13 September, which provided for the selection of presidential Electors in the states on 7 January 1789 and set 4 February as the date they would cast their ballots in their states.
The Constitution left it up to each state to choose the manner in which their Electors were chosen (Article II, section 1). North Carolina and Rhode Island had not yet ratified the Constitution and had no Electors in the election of 1789. The New York legislature was unable to pass an election act in time to choose its allotted 8 Electors, failed to appoint any by 7 January, and cast no electoral votes on 4 February. A total of 69 Electors voted in the first Presidential Election (2 Electors in Maryland, and 1 in Virginia failed to cast ballots). Each elector had two votes, at least one of which had to be cast for a person outside their state. The votes were to be forwarded to Congress, where they would be counted in the presence of the Senators and Representatives. The person with the most votes would be President; the one finishing second in the balloting would be Vice President. Congress convened in New York on 4 March 1789; quorums were achieved in the House and Senate on 1 and 6 April 1789, respectively. Congress confirmed the results of the first presidential election (see below) when it officially counted the ballots on 6 April 1789. Vice President John Adams assumed his duties as president of the Senate on 21 April and George Washington was inaugurated as President of the United States on 30 April 1789.
The following tallies of the electoral count for the Presidential Election of 1789 derive from Merrill Jensen et al., eds., The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, 1788-1790 (4 vols.; Madison, Wisconsin, 1976-1989). Presidential Electors were elected by the people in only five states, and the lack of vote counts and other records makes the reconstruction of the total popular vote impossible.
1789 Electoral Votes
«back | home