Electoral College Goofs

David Freddoso reports:

According to the official documents displayed on the website of the National Archives, the Empire State’s 31 electoral votes all went for someone named “John L. Kerry” from Massachusetts. No such person could be found in the phone book, although there is a John T. Kerry in Plymouth. New York Deputy Secretary of State Eamon Moynihan was audibly surprised when the mistake was pointed out to him over the phone. “It was a typo in Albany,” he explained later in the day, after looking into the matter. “It will be corrected — a corrected version will be sent with an explanatory note,” he said.

This electoral-college mistake was not the only one for 2004. The press has widely noted that one of Minnesota’s ten electoral votes was not cast for Kerry. However, the write-in electoral vote for president did not go to John Edwards, as was widely reported, but instead for someone named “John Ewards.”

Embarrasing. Such incidents–along with the occasional faithless Elector–illustrate the silliness of the Electoral College as presently constituted. Even if we decide that the occasional non-plurality winner is a price worth paying to preserve Federalism, one would think an automatic process allocating Electors based on the statewide results would be preferable.

Freddeso jokes,

Are Red Staters really the uneducated rubes that so many beautiful Blue people make them out to be? Maybe. But Oklahomans, Hoosiers, and Idahoans have at least one thing over their well-educated New York counterparts — they can at least spell their presidential candidate’s name correctly.


FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Correct spelling, we will now be told, is the hobgoblin of little minds.

  2. Yup. It is a hoot. Minnesota fixed the official document for the electoral votes to reflect Edwards, instead of Ewards. Blogged it.