How many times has the electoral college gone against the popular vote?

Has this ever happened? If it hasn’t doesn’t that essentially make our votes almost meaningless.

I think twice, though I can’t look it up right now. J. Q. Adams comes to mind, but I’m not sure if he meets the criteria (he was appointed by the house).

It doesn’t make your vote meaningless because the electors that you vote for are seated.

What? You thought you voted for president? Who told you that?

According to the list here, only once has the loser has a majority of the popular vote, in 1876. In three other cases the winner of a plurality has lost: 1824, 1888, and 2000.

No I knew i didnt vote for the president and to be honest that is one of the reason why i have not registered. What did you mean by my electors are seated?

How often have accurate figures for the popular vote been available? If candidate A is winning by a large margin in some state, why bother counting absentee ballots, provisional ballots, etc.?

Four times:
In 1824 Andrew Jackson received a plurality of the popular (inasmuch as we actually have records of it at that time) and the electoral vote, but was not elected President.

In 1876, Samuel Tilden beat Rutherford B. Hayes by 3% in the popular vote (though somebody in another thread said that was mainly because he suppressed the black vote in southern states), and lost the EC by 1 vote – Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina were all extremely close, and the board appointed to examine them was composed of 7 Dems, 7 Reps, and 1 Independent; however, the Independent resigned and was replaced by a Republican, so the board ruled that all three states had voted for Hayes.

In 1888, Grover Cleveland was the incumbent President, and barely lost his home state and the election to Benjamin Harrison, who lost the popular vote by less than 1%.

And I think we all remember what happened in 2000.

In addition, there have been quite a few elections in which a few dozen thousand votes could have been switched in key states and changed the outcome of the election: Kennedy beat Nixon 303 to 219 in the EC, but got barely more than a hundred thousand popular votes more, and Nixon beat Humphrey 301 to 191, but got only half a million more votes. Nixon could have won Texas and Illinois without winning the popular vote, and Humphrey could have done the same with Missouri, New Jersey, and Ohio.

(Since 1856 - the first time both Democrats and Republicans both appeared in Presidential elections…)

There are two different questions here. If your question is “how many times did the candidate who got the biggest popular vote not get the most electoral votes?” the answer is:
just once, in 2000.

If your question is "how many times has the candidate who got a majority of the electoral vote failed to get a majority of the popular vote? The anwer is: 11, the latest in 1992 when Bill Clinton got 43% of the popular vote. Richard Nixon got 43.4% of the popular vote in 1968, Harry Truman got 49.55% of the popular vote in 1948, and Woodrow Wilson got 41.8% of the popular vote in 1912 and 49.2% in 1916 (the other 6 times were in the 19th Century.) In each of those elections, third party candidates drew a significant popular vote, but not enough electoral votes to throw the election into the House of Representatives.

So in the last 38 elections since the Republicans and Democrats first faced each other, the winner DID NOT GET A MAJORITY of the popular vote almost 1/3 of the time.

ETA: ETA: I didn’t have popular vote totals for 1876m but I think Tilden got more popular votes than Hayes.

I’m almost positive they count EVERY ballot no matter what. Generally a state can be called one way or another if the victory is lopsided enough that any outstanding votes could not possibly swing the election anyway.


They have to be counted anyway because of the many, many down-ballot races.

I was under the impression that absentee ballots are not counted unless the margin of victory in a race is less than the number of absentee ballots.
This might have only applied in the paper ballot age. When I started voting (1972) in rural Ohio, we got a whole handful of ballots of different sizes, shapes and colors, one for each race or ballot issue.

This is what I thought also. I’ve heard people complain about this, that its horrible that absentee ballots not be counted, that their vote doesn’t count, etc. but this argument is ridiculous because it absolutely will count if it could affect the outcome.