With the furor over Trump being elected President, it was common knowledge that attempts were being made to influence Republican Electors to change their votes and effectively steal the election from him. Of course that didn’t work. But I find myself wondering, are there any recorded instances of such things happening in previous elections? Did groups try to wine and dine Electors, or even out-and-out bribe them, to change their votes? Or on a darker note, were Electors threatened or blackmailed in an effort to get them to vote against party lines?
Not exactly “sway”, more like “outright steal”. The election of 1876 featured some extreme shenanigans:
Of course, none of us learned about President Tilden in school, because further extreme backroom wrangling ensued, resulting in a compromise that put Rutherford B. Hayes in the White House. Go read the full story, it’s something else.
In the 1960 election (which John F. Kennedy won), there was a campaign to have the Republican electors, who were in the minority, vote for Harry F. Byrd instead of Richard Nixon. While this did end up getting a few votes, the majority of the Republican electors felt that they had a moral obligation to vote for Nixon and refused to become faithless electors.
In the 1836 election, 23 electors from Virginia refused to vote for vice presidential candidate Richard Johnson since Johnson had an open affair with a slave mistress, which was a big scandal at the time. As a result, Johnson did not receive the majority votes needed by the electorate. Johnson went on to be elected vice president by the senate.
Speak for yourself. I certainly did learn about this in HS. And all those disputed votes were awarded to the Republicans by the same 8-7 vote of the committee chaired by the Chief Justice of the US. Guess how many Dems and how many Reps were on the committee to decide the outcome. Hayes was known as “8 and 7”. There was a price paid, however. The Republicans agreed to end reconstruction. After that Negros were no longer permitted to vote in the south until the civil rights acts of the 1960s. It was a combination of literacy laws unfairly administered and the Klan who would lynch any uppity black who tried to vote. All this I learned in HS.