On This Day in 1789, the First U.S. Presidential Election is Held

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On this day in 1789, America’s first presidential election under the federal Constitution is held. Voters cast ballots to choose state electors. At the time, only white men who owned property were allowed to vote. George Washington was elected and sworn into office on April 30, 1789.

The electoral votes in the 1789 election were as follows –

(1) George Washington of Virginia: 69

(2) John Adams of Massachusetts: 34 (prior to the ratification of the 12th amendment, the candidate who received the most electoral votes became president, while the candidate who won the second most became vice president).

(3) John Jay of New York: 9

(4) Robert Hanson Harrison of Maryland: 6

(5) John Rutledge of South Carolina: 6

(6) Samuel Huntington of Connecticut: 2

(7) John Milton of Georgia: 2

(8) James Armstrong of Pennsylvania: 1

(9) Benjamin Lincoln of Massachusetts: 1

(10) Edward Telfair of Georgia: 1

4 electors failed to cast their ballots, and only 10 out of 13 states participated in the election. North Carolina and Rhode Island had not yet ratified the Constitution and were, therefore, ineligible to participate. New York also did not participate because a deadlock in the state legislature led to a failure to appoint its allotment of 8 electors.

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