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An Unlikely Winner and a Most Unhappy Loser

September 3, 2014

Abraham Lincoln received the lowest popular vote percentage of any President who won in the Electoral College, but 36 years earlier another individual had received an even lower popular vote percentage and still became President.

In order to become President one must receive a majority of Electoral votes.  When this does not happen, the House of Representatives chooses the President.  This happened in 1800 and led to a Constitutional Amendment which reduces, but does not eliminate, the probability of an Electoral tie in a two-way race.

In 1824 Congress chose the President due to a different problem.  None of the candidates in that four-way race had a majority of Electoral votes.  When Congress met, they chose the candidate who had received only 30.6% of the popular vote.  Unfortunately, another candidate had received more popular and Electoral votes in the general election, and he was not happy.

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