Unpledged presidential electors have run in at least four US presidential elections. In 1960, 14 were elected.

In this age, where the electoral college is almost a mere formality and we rarely think of ourselves as voting for "electors," it's hard for me to imagine the voters' thoughts or even what they were looking at when they cast their ballots. So my question is, what did the ballots look like? Was there one line for the Republican candidate, one for the Democrat, and one for "unpledged"? Or what?

  • I am not sure I even understand how that works... Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 7:15
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    @FelixGoldberg Unpledged electors were free to vote for whatever candidate they chose when the electoral college convened, unlike electors who were pledged to the Republican or Democratic candidate. Is that what you're wondering about? Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 14:27
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    It is quite simple. You would not vote directly for president, instead you would vote for elector. Each elector could pledge support for a candidate, or not pledge at all. Electors were well known in the community, so you would know their party leanings, and even which faction in the party they belong.
    – rs.29
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 9:58
  • @rs.29 You're saying that in those four elections, people's ballots didn't have the presidential candidates listed at all? Was that the case in every state? Was it the case in all the elections prior? When did it change? Such follow-up questions would, I think, need to be addressed if you want to turn your comment into a successful answer. Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 2:00
  • @Mr.Bultitude Ballots were not standardized, but as a rule of thumb they had both presidential candidates and electors that supported them. One example below, you could find them yourself if you search "presidential ballots 19th century" . d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/static/2020/10/sd2-1200x1123.jpg
    – rs.29
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 9:11


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